Thematic Review: Negotiating Identities of Street Children. A Short Reflection Piece

  • Laura Dryjanska Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Keywords: street children, social representations, identity, child slavery, human trafficking


This paper presents a review of 171 scientific articles dedicated to the phenomenon of street children in the last two decades. According to Orr’s notion of identity as a social representation, the aim is to examine how scholars, through their research and the resulting international scientific production, represent the street children and therefore contribute to shaping their identity. The complex zone in the case of street children is the street, the place that performs the functions of home (where they sleep, eat, work, play and die), yet it does not fulfil their basic needs, such as proper nutrition or safety. This article discusses how in such situations the findings and approach to research proposed by Orr could be applied as a common thread to analyse the phenomenon of street children, discussing its links with child slavery and human trafficking.

Author Biography

Laura Dryjanska, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

LAURA DRYJANSKA, PhD is a post-doctoral researcher and assistant to Professor Annamaria Silvana de Rosa for the Meta-theoretical Analysis of the Social Representation Literature at the European/International Joint PhD in Social Representations and Communication Research Centre and Multimedia Lab of the Sapienza University of Rome. The author’s interests include social identity, environmental psychology, tourism, urban studies and social representations of places. She is also active in research projects on the sociology of evil, child slavery and human trafficking.