Teachers as agents of peace? Exploring teacher agency in social cohesion in Pakistan

Anjum Halai, Naureen Durrani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies an under-researched area–teachers’ role in peacebuilding in conflict-affected contexts–through exploring teacher agency for social cohesion in Pakistan. Insights are sought into teachers’ perspectives on the major drivers of conflict in society and the role of education and teachers in social cohesion and mitigating inequities in education. A 4Rs framework of redistribution, recognition, representation and reconciliation was employed to analyse data gathered from: interviews with and classroom observations of teacher educators; focus-group discussions with and a questionnaire completed by pre- and in-service teachers; and analysis of teacher education and school curriculum texts. While teachers expressed a nuanced understanding of the conflict drivers in society and appreciated the significance of education in peacebuilding, they subscribed to assimilationist approaches to social cohesion, which were aligned with curriculum texts and promoted official nation-building agendas. Additionally, teachers saw issues of social cohesion as peripheral to the core academic curriculum. Teachers’ identity was integrally linked to their religious affiliations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-552
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018


  • Pakistan
  • Social cohesion
  • conflict
  • teacher agency
  • teacher education


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