Covarrubias, Arlette; Caro, Nelly (2017). 'Students socio-economic conditions and violence. The case of secondary schools in the State of Mexico.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


Violence between adolescents limits their opportunity to achieve several basic functionings such as:

  • Bodily health: being able to have good health, including reproductive health; to be adequately nourished; to have adequate shelter (Nussbaum 2003).
  • Bodily integrity: being able to move freely from place to place; to be secure against violent assault, including sexual assault and domestic violence; having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction (Nussbaum 2003).
  • Senses imagination and thought: being able to use the senses, to imagine, think, and reason and do these things in a “truly human” way informed and cultivated by an adequate education, including by no means limited to, literacy and basic material skills (Nussbaum 2003)  .
  • Emotions: being able to have attachment to things and people outside ourselves; to love, to grieve, to experience longing, gratitude, and justified anger. Not having one’s emotional development blighted for fear and anxiety (Nussbaum 2003).
  • Social interaction being able to be part of a group, interact with other children (Nussbaum 2003).
  • Play. Being able to laugh, to play, to enjoy recreational activities (Nussbaum 2003).
  • Affiliation. Being able to live with and towards others. Having the social bases of self-respect and non-humiliation (Nussbaum 2003).

Because students are formed in schools, violence in this space will influence not only the well-being they can achieve as adolescents, it will also condition the functonings they will be able to achieve as adults. For this reason, it is fundamental to analyse the factors that influence violence within schools. Statistical studies have found that poverty levels and economic inequality of the municipality where schools are located influence the violence between students in schools (Machado Azeredo 2015). The objective of the paper is to analyse the direct and indirect channels through which socio-economic conditions of students’ households, influence the violence they perpetrate and experience within schools.  However, the direct and indirect means through which these economic factors have this effect on adolescents’ behaviour in schools needs explanation. To achieve this, quantitative and qualitative data of secondary schools in the state of Mexico is used. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, we applied a survey of a representative sample of secondary students in this state of Mexico. In 2015 and 2016, we also gathered information through in-depth interviews of school principals, teachers and students. 

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