In this article, Michelle J. Bellino explores contrasting approaches to civic education in two rural schools serving indigenous Maya youth in post–civil war Guatemala. Through comparative ethnography, she examines how youth civic pathways intersect with legacies of authoritarianism while young people shape their identity as members of historically oppressed groups. She suggests that student decisions about how and when to participate in civic issues function as a risk calculus, taking into consideration the costs and benefits of both participation and nonparticipation as well as the civic obligation to abstain or join communities in struggle. Although serving similarly impoverished communities hard-hit by state actors during the war and now struggling with issues of indigenous autonomy, both schools position daily experiences with injustice as an entry point for constructing youth citizenship. Beyond this shared experience of historical injustice and its ongoing effects, educators envision young peoples' roles according to different risk structures. In this way, youth construct civic pathways while traversing between the potential for risk and reward, in part informed by their experiences in school.

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