Book Review: Youth in Postwar Guatemala: Education and Civic Identity in Transition by Michelle J. Bellino

In Youth in Postwar Guatemala: Education and Civic Identity in Transition, Michelle J. Bellino draws on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork to examine the complexities that the historical memory of armed conflict offers for the consolidation of democracy and the expansion of citizenship among youth. Bellino argues that the construction of historical memory mediates the way in which young people from diverse socioeconomic contexts relate to their sense of citizenship and how they perceive the opportunities the future holds for them. She proposes the concept of “wait citizenship,” which describes the condition young people must navigate when relating to a state that obliges them to prioritize the development of their autonomy over their ability to show solidarity with others. As Bellino’s text conveys, awaiting citizenship limits young people’s ability to impact the political and economic structures that have distributed opportunities unequally in Guatemala. Her argument sheds light on the tensions and challenges involved in transforming a society shifting toward a more democratic and just version of itself.


Resource Info

Resource Type

Journal Article


Published by

Journal on Education in Emergencies (JEiE)

Authored by

Diana Rodriguez-Gomez


Adolescents and Youth
Research and Evidence

Geographic Focus