Book Review: Training for Model Citizenship: Ethnography of Civic Education and State-Making in Rwanda by Molly Sundberg
In Training for Model Citizenship, Molly Sundberg draws on her ethnographic fieldwork, as well as her experience as a development practitioner for the Swedish International Development Agency, to explore how citizens relate to the state in postgenocide Rwanda. She examines the role of Itorero, Rwanda’s “citizenmaking project,” a state-sponsored, non-formal civic education program that teaches citizens about the state and Rwandan nationhood. The program is open to all Rwandan citizens, but it specifically targets certain groups, such as civil servants, teachers, and youth. Participants attend local or national trainings, where they learn about Rwanda’s civic and cultural values. Sundberg’s primary argument is that the Rwandan state’s attempt to create model citizenship and “political truths” is thwarted by both alternative stories about the genocide and citizens’ current experiences with the state apparatus.