Citizenship and Convivencia Education in contexts of Violence: Transnational Challenges to Peacebuilding Education in Mexican schools

Diego Nieto, Kathy Bickmore


The paper examines teachers’ understandings of social conflicts, and their reported implemented curriculum regarding citizenship education, based on a series of focus group workshops with 5-6 interested teachers in each of three schools in marginalized, violent neighborhoods in one Mexican city. Teachers identified a variety of conflicts affecting their students, including direct violence (domestic/gendered, gangs, bullying) and social structural interest conflicts (emigration, pollution, drug trafficking, unemployment, labor exploitation). These conflicts’ transnational dimensions were generally not acknowledged. We argue that the imaginaries of conflict and democratic action shaping participants’ teaching practices were influenced by hegemonic neoliberal discourses of citizenship—detached from transnational social structural dynamics, with causal explanations and solution alternatives limited to individual values choices. Such a narrow, security-oriented approach to citizenship and convivencia education would function to govern marginalized populations more than to enhance democratic agency.


Citizenship Education; Global Education; Social Problems; Peace Education

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