International Sociology and International Sociology Reviews

Topic of the Month, December 2023

Children’s Rights’ is our Topic of the Month for December 2023. On this topic, enjoy Free Access to this article by F Kubra Aytac (Ohio State University Psychology Department, United States) published in International Sociology, Children’s right to the city: The case of street children. Read on to know more about the author’s trajectory and work.

F. Kubra Aytac

Why are you working on this topic? Could you share an experience, a fact or a person who made you get engaged on that research?

F. Kubra Aytac: I was drawn to this topic because it addresses a critical yet often overlooked aspect of urban development and human rights. According to the United Nations, around one billion children worldwide live in urban areas, and millions of street children worldwide are exposed to extreme risks and vulnerabilities. These children often lack access to basic necessities, face exploitation, and are at increased risk of physical and emotional harm. The concept of “children’s right to the city” emphasizes their entitlement to participate in urban life, access safe and inclusive spaces, and be involved in decisions that shape their urban surroundings. Children’s physical, cognitive, and emotional growth is profoundly influenced by the environments in which they live, play, and learn. The urban environment, which should ideally provide opportunities for growth and development, can inadvertently become a hostile space for street children, hindering their well-being and potential. So, recognizing and advocating for children’s right to a safe, stimulating, and inclusive urban environment is pivotal for ensuring their optimal development and fostering a healthier, more equitable society.

My involvement in this research was ignited by an impactful encounter with David Harvey during my undergraduate years in Ankara, Turkey, where he visited to give a conference talk. Harvey’s work on urbanization and the right to the city, following Henri Lefebvre’s “le droit à la ville”, inspired my engagement in research on children’s right to the city and the case of street children. This theoretical framework helped me contextualize street children’s experiences within broader urban dynamics and motivated me to contribute academically to an inclusive and just urban environment supporting all children’s rights and well-being.

What would you emphasize about your academic trajectory? Can you highlight which have been your academic positions, universities, awards, departments and research centers?

F.K. Aytac: I am a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program at The Ohio State University, where I was awarded the graduate fellowship. I graduated summa cum laude with high honor roll distinction from Middle East Technical University in 2015, where I majored in Sociology with a double major degree in Philosophy and a minor degree in Political Science and Public Administration. I obtained two M.S. degrees from the same university: Psychology in 2019 and Sociology in 2018. My master’s thesis about maternal gatekeeping received the “Best Thesis of the Year Award”. Currently, I conduct research at the Children and Parents Lab (CAPLAB) at The Ohio State University Psychology Department.

Please, tell us your public or institutional social networks (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) that you would like to be tagged when promoting your article on our social networks.

F.K. Aytac: LinkedIn F Kubra Aytac and ResearchGate F Kubra Aytac.