Learning to be Loyal: Patriotic Education in Authoritarian Regimes

Grants to Support Faculty Fellows' Research
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How do authoritarian leaders attempt to promote political allegiance among a globally minded youth? How do they educate students to be loyal and supportive citizens, and how do these strategies of legitimation change over time? Learning to be Loyal is a comparative study of civic education in three authoritarian regimes: China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. This book-length research project sits at the intersection of much debated theoretical questions about how authoritarian political systems cultivate popular legitimacy; when and why they turn to cultural and ethnic identity as opposed to economic and ideological principles to foster national unity; and how they use schools to socialize students and the future elite to be patriotic. These questions are derived not only from current debates about the political development and durability of authoritarian political systems, but also speak to the meaning and expectations of civic education and citizenship in restrictive political contexts.