Date of Award

Spring 2016

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder

Second Advisor

Shane P. Martin

Third Advisor

Rebecca Stephenson


In Mexico, as in other parts of the world, human rights violations have deep historical roots. In the forty years before this study, these violations had been increasing, especially with respect to excluded populations and vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous peoples, migrants, and victims of repression (Center Prodh, 2013). To reverse or at least decrease these conditions, disenfranchised people needed to become aware of their rights within civil society. Toward that end, diverse non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had taken on the task of providing education and strategic practices to disenfranchised people and communities. The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) had contributed to this work. The defense of human rights was a fundamental task in any country that sought democracy. Recognized by international law, academics, and civil society, the growing field of human rights combined the ideas of liberal democracy with other traditions.

This case study utilized a critical analysis to examine the outcome of the work of one NGO dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights in Mexico: the Center of Human Rights Miguel Agustin Prodh Juarez (Center Prodh). Center Prodh was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1988 and has maintained a political presence within the field of human rights organizations in the region. The study utilized the characteristics of the social apostolate of the Society of Jesus and provided a critical conceptual framework for cultural democracy formulated by Darder (2003) to investigate the importance of a Jesuit social institution in theory and practice within the field of human rights. Apart from this critical process of analysis, an important objective of the study was to develop greater understanding of the Jesuit orientation to social action work in Mexico. A key aspect of this study was to examine the successes and limitations of the human rights approach utilized by Center Prodh in assisting individuals and communities to consolidate their collective agency toward a more just and participatory political process of social change.