Educating Pakistan’s daughters: the intersection of schooling, unequal citizenship and violence

Emerson, Ann (2017) Educating Pakistan’s daughters: the intersection of schooling, unequal citizenship and violence. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (2MB)


The purpose of this thesis is to explore how education in one girls’ government school teaches understandings of citizenship and to identify potential links to the reproduction of identity-based violence in Pakistan. This in-depth qualitative case study was conducted in a girls’ government model school. This study focuses on curriculum and school practices of the secondary school section. Data was collected through interviews with staff, a participatory workshop with teachers, focus groups with students, classroom observation, and informal discussions. I also analyzed the Pakistan Studies textbook used in the secondary section of the school.

Using theories of critical education, intersectionality, and Galtung’s violence triangle, I argue that despite recent political and curricular reform attempts, education in Pakistan reproduces a homogeneous concept of a legitimate citizen (male Sunni Muslim). While this evolved to unite an ethnically diverse Pakistan, it has contributed to identity-based violence (direct, structural, and cultural) against those that do not fit within this conception.

In this school, the Pakistan Studies textbooks create an official discourse that promotes this gendered and exclusionary citizenship. I show how the Pakistan studies textbook uses history and constitutional lessons to promote citizenship that is based in a masculine Islam meant to oppose the Hindu ‘other’ as well as to promote the exclusion of women and minorities from full citizenship. I also found that teachers own understandings of citizenship, which closely reflect the text, are deeply rooted in their understanding of their notions of the ideal Muslim woman. I find that the school rewards gendered behavior in both students and teachers. I then explore the extent to which the school reproduces other social divisions including religious, ethnicity, and class. I find that the school simultaneously reproduces, mitigates, and exacerbates these tensions. I then argue that the teachers’ and students’ understandings of the role of women to counter violence is rooted in the notions of middle class women’s roles as mothers and supporters of men that are reproduced through school practice.

This study furthers the knowledge on the links between education and violence by showing that promoting a homogeneous ideal of a citizen through education, while intended as a nation building project, can contribute to structural, cultural and direct violence against women and minorities, limiting their agency to engage in social transformation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC1401 Women. Girls
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG021 Asia > LG060 India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Sri Lanka. Nepal
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2017 12:02
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2017 12:02

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update