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South Sudanese primary school textbooks: Transforming and reinforcing conflict

  • Catherine VannerEmail author
  • Thursica Kovinthan Levi
  • Spogmai Akseer


Primary school textbooks can provide space for learning about peace and inclusion but can also reinforce messages of inequality and division. This article describes a thematic analysis of South Sudan’s textbooks for pupils in Grade 4 Social Studies, English, and Christian Religious Education. The analysis uses a conceptual framework that positions education as having multiple potential overlapping roles in relation to conflict—victim, accomplice, and transformer—to show that the textbooks’ content contains some motions toward social change, but more often passively reinforces the status quo. While peace and social acceptance of diversity and gender equality are sometimes explicitly promoted, there is an overarching emphasis on maintaining and accepting social norms without critically interrogating the social structures that can foster inequality and lead to conflict. This analysis positions the textbooks primarily as accomplices to conflict, with some movement toward transformation, across the themes of religion and ethnicity, governance, gender, and conflict.


Textbooks Peacebuilding Conflict South Sudan Primary school Learning materials 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrated Studies in EducationMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.University of Ottawa - Faculty of EducationOttawaCanada
  3. 3.TorontoCanada

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