Teaching world citizenship: The cross-national diffusion of human rights education in formal schooling

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This study investigates the worldwide emergence and diffusion of government initiatives to introduce human rights education (HRE) in state-sponsored schools. Using cross-national data, this study evaluates prevailing theories of educational expansion. Modernization theories predict that countries that are economically, politically, and culturally more advanced in their developmental stage are more likely to adopt HRE. Realist perspectives and functionalist accounts view HRE adoption as resulting from reputational calculations and strategic action by states to advance their national power and gain competitive advantage. From a neo-institutional perspective, HRE adoption results from nation-states enacting culturally legitimate, exogenously constructed models of development that have come to be taken for granted and theorized as "modern" and "appropriate." Results from event-history models suggest that multiple factors positively influence HRE adoption in various countries and regions of the world. These factors include political development, the behavior of neighboring countries, a higher density of international organizations and human rights instruments articulating HRE standards, and national linkages to the human rights movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-124
Number of pages20
JournalKEDI Journal of Educational Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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