Theses Doctoral

Between hope and hopelessness. Citizenship education and student mobilization in a Chilean public high school.

Mayorga Camus, Luis Rodrigo

During the last decade, Chilean high school students have exploded into the international spotlight for social organizing. They also have managed to achieve significant changes in some of the major educational policies governing their schools. In this work I examine how student political mobilization affects the ways in which these young people learn to be citizens inside and outside of public high schools. I also explore the implications of these processes for democratic citizenship education.

Drawing on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in a public high school located in Chile’s capital city of Santiago, I analyze the main citizenship education practices in which these high school students engaged. I examine these practices as they occur within schools – namely, those related with the national curriculum for citizenship education and the varied ways in which it is implemented, appropriated and resisted – as well as in the streets – specifically, practices in which these young people engage in the course of their participation in student movements. I also focus on the different ways in which Chilean students make use of history in order to learn new ways of enacting their citizenship, exploring how these high schoolers’ relationships with the past and the future are significant for educational and political processes.

This work reaches three main conclusions, all of them significant for researchers and educators interested in citizenship education. First, civic engagement takes varied forms and discourses of youth apathy obscure several of these forms as well as the material obstacles that hinder youth civic engagement. Second, high school students actively participate in the constant production of the state, not only as participants in social movements, but also in their everyday lives within their high schools. Third, that one of the main ways in which students participate of this production is by making use of the past and imagining the future while enacting their citizenship.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Anthropology and Education
Thesis Advisors
Limerick, Nicholas
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 12, 2020