Who Cares?: Relationships, Recognition, and Rights in the Democratic Education of Three Cambodian Sisters in the United States

Ellen Skilton-Sylvester


This article argues that interpersonal relationships of care and cultural recognition as evidence of care are central to democratic citizenship education, particularly for students from marginalized groups. Utilizing two sets of data: 1) life history interviews of three adult Cambodian sisters and 2) three years of ethnographic data from their home and school contexts more than a decade before, the article documents their education, both in and out of school, and how that education has produced very particular kinds of citizens.   Rather than seeing these forms of care as peripheral to the goals of democratic citizenship education, this article argues that they are central to ensuring the social and cultural rights of newcomers in the United States.