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Levstik, Linda S., and Jeanette Groth. “Ruled By Our Own People: Ghanaian Adolescents’ Conceptions of Citizenship.” Teachers College Record 107(4) (2005): 563-86.


This study investigates the ways in which 150 Ghanaian junior secondary students negotiate the tensions between ethnic and national history in building conceptions of democratic citizenship. While unofficial histories operate in Ghana, and some of these may be oppositional, the students in this study do not describe their own or others' ethnic histories as in opposition to official histories. In contrast to official histories in other national settings, ethnic history in Ghana appears as an important building block in the national narrative. Students describe a national story of subjugation, struggle, and sacrifice that not only establishes the need for unity (and the consequences of disunity) and the value of diversity (and the consequences of interethnic conflict) but inclines students to honor multiple identities, search for unifying elements that might be carried into the present and future, and perceive their conationals as capable of bravery, persistence, and self-rule. At the same time, historical study did not appear to incline students toward the kind of critical historical analysis envisioned by Ghanaian curriculum planners.