Reproducing or challenging power relations? A qualitative study of the field of peace education in Colombia

Skinner, Robert ORCID: 0000-0002-4444-686X (2022). Reproducing or challenging power relations? A qualitative study of the field of peace education in Colombia. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis asks who benefits from peace education in Colombia and how. Asking this question does not mean evaluating the success, or otherwise, of teaching an individual peace education course. Instead, this thesis takes inspiration from the critical and post-critical peace education literature to explore how the teaching and learning of peace education is capable of reproducing or challenging unequal power relations in society. I argue that using Bourdieu’s theoretical toolkit of habitus, field, capital, doxa and symbolic violence to identify who benefits from peace education can prevent the individualised and decontextualised analysis that critical peace education scholars have warned against. Interviews I conducted with academics, policymakers and NGO workers identified three forms of capital structuring the field of peace education in Colombia. They are developing the capacity to feel empathy for others, educating for an expanded understanding of peace and relating personal experiences to historical and contemporary events. Case studies undertaken in schools that represent the socio-economic inequality partly responsible for Colombia’s history of conflict identified which students can accumulate these forms of capital. I found that the students attending private schools have an advantage over the students from state schools and so peace education contributes to the production of symbolic violence in Colombia. However, I also explore how designers and practitioners of peace education courses can avoid this outcome by increasing the resources available to state schools and changing the dominant form of capital within the field to ensure it is more favourable to the habitus of students from state schools. Employing Bourdieu’s theories about power relations to explore who benefits from peace education in Colombia therefore leads to practical suggestions about how peace education can address the conditions responsible for conflict within society.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of International Development
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
L Education > LE Individual institutions (America except United States)


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