Kubow continues research into Jordanian citizenship identity

By 

Dominant discourses on citizenship and citizenship education have been viewed through largely Western traditions and lenses. Faculty member Patricia Kubow is looking to change that in the country of Jordan.

Kubow, a Professor in International and Comparative Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been granted access by The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Ministry of Education, a rare feat for a Westerner, to conduct this research demonstrates the interest on the part of the government to know how children feel about their experiences in Jordan.

“I have been doing research on various aspects of citizenship education in Jordan since 2008. It is a fascinating place for study,” Kubow said. “Jordan is a small country equivalent to the size of Indiana. It is a less affluent economy than other Middle Eastern countries, and the monarchy and government navigate complex relations between the West, with the U.S. as its ally, and the Arab world. The notion of ‘citizen’ in Jordan is nested in a web of sociality involving allegiances to family, culture, nation-state and religion.”

One in three Syrian refugees are 5-17 years old, with the majority attending Jordan’s government schools. School serves as a critical site for examining how systems of identity are upheld or altered by children.

Patricia Kubow

Kubow’s research focuses on the ways in which Jordanian and Syrian refugee schoolchildren understand their citizen identities amidst social unrest, displacement and political change. Little attention has been paid to the most vulnerable populations in the Middle East, namely children and refugees.

“Jordan, along with Lebanon, has the greatest influx of Syrian refugees in the world. In Jordan, refugees often maintain their status with limited rights even after decades in Jordan,” Kubow explained. “One in three Syrian refugees are 5-17 years old, with the majority attending Jordan’s government schools. School serves as a critical site for examining how systems of identity are upheld or altered by children.”

Kubow’s work fills a need for additional research around social identities of Arab children.

“The timeliness and importance of the topic and population—combined with strategic world locale and scarce research on Arab children and youth—make scholarship on citizen identity formation in Jordan of immediate interest and demand,” she said.