Citizenship education in the conflict-affected societies of Northern Ireland and Syria: Learning lessons from the past to inform the future

Faith Gordon, Adnan Mouhiddin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The role of education in peacekeeping has been well documented in the academic literature. While it has been argued that education provided through formalised structures of school-settings has the potential to create stable environments for children and young people to learn and to heal, this can be difficult to achieve when children are displaced during conflict and little formalised structures exist, as communities navigate loss, trauma and uncertainty and as they rebuild their lives. Further, existing literature demonstrates that in light of the existence of contested or conflicting identities in relation to citizenship, the content and approaches taken in relation to citizenship education may represent part of the problem and also part of the solution, for conflict-affected societies. It is against this backdrop that this chapter explores the nexus between the challenges and problems that exist for conflict-affected societies, alongside the potential for solutions and the potential for a long-lasting positive impact of citizenship education on the children of the post-conflict, transitioning generation. To explore these larger questions, the chapter utilises the two case studies of the protracted conflict in Northern Ireland and the ongoing conflict in Syria. In doing so, it will consider issues such as contested identities and notions of citizenship, dominant ideologies, division and school structures, as well as exploring whether there are lessons that can be learned from the past to inform the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Citizenship and Education
EditorsAndrew Petersen, Garth Stahl, Hannah Soong
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319678283, 9783319678290
ISBN (Print)9783319678276
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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