Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access



First Advisor

David Spener

Second Advisor

Rocio Delgado


In this thesis, I investigate the question of how Chilean high school students in liceos emblemáticos and liceos históricos develop a critical consciousness about social justice issues. I examine how critical consciousness manifests itself in the second decade of the 21st century Chile and how, in turn, this critical consciousness leads to participation in national social movements. To further analyze this question, I utilize my field research, which was conducted through a qualitative approach. In May 2018, I conducted nine interviews with students and three with teachers at five of Santiago’s emblematic and historic high schools and at a Valparaiso technical high school, as well observations in history classroom at three of these schools. I employ critical pedagogy as the analytical framework with which I make sense of the findings. Based on my analysis using Freire’s concept of critical consciousness, I find that participants in these atypical schools demonstrate high levels of critical consciousness regarding matters of social justice. Students highlighted the socioeconomic diversity, social justice legacy, institutional culture, and passionate teachers in their current high schools as catalysts for raising critical social consciousness. Future research should continue to explore this topic as it to relates traditional public schools.