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Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education





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“The Garneau Sisterhood is watching”, warns an impromptu poster in the Garneau community, following a police warning for women to take safety precautions subsequent to announcements of a serial rapist in the area. In this context, tensions exist between the individual, the state and the collective. In this interpretivist study, we invoke the lens of feminist theory to examine the relationship between identity and agency in a collective conceptualization of the citizen. Through content analysis of a sampling of public media, we present the case of the Garneau Sisterhood to consider the relationship between collective identity and agency in challenging the constraints of individualist notions of citizenship. Finally, we argue that feminist citizenship education is needed to engage the notion of collective identity and agency as a source of empowerment for students, and other citizens, to raise issues of importance in the public sphere.


This article was initially published in JCIE, which provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. It is accessible at:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Citation of this paper:

Viczko, M., & McClean, A. (2009). “The Sisterhood is watching”: Challenging identity and agency in citizenship. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education, 4(2), 29-41.

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