chapter  12
16 Pages

The State and the Citizen in Mexican Civic Education: An Evolving Story


In this chapter, I sketch the history of the relationship between modern state formation, the inculcation of citizenship subjectivities and the development of the curricular space called civic education in Mexico. I place most emphasis on contemporary developments at the secondary level since 1993. In developing this account, I am concerned with illuminating the complicated and uneven relationship between civil society, the state and the forms that civic education takes. While it may appear easy from policy documents to identify the prevailing historical trends in Mexican citizenship education-from ‘socialist’ solidarity to national (albeit authoritarian) unity to neo-liberal entrepreneurialism-the reality on the ground is in fact more complicated. The picture that emerges is of a loosely coupled, internally complex state, partially responsive to civil society concerns and globally circulating discourses, and an even more loosely coupled relationship between centralised educational bureaucracy and local educational practice. Rather than engage in much explicit theorisation, I try to let the unfolding narrative relate the key theoretical points about how the state may try to use civic education to form citizens, and how such efforts may succeed or fail on the ground.