Nation-state, Education and the Fabrication of National-Minded Citizens (Introduction)

Daniel Tröhler


This Special Issue is dedicated to a social phenomenon that can deliver so much
impact precisely because it is largely ignored: Nationalism, and more specifically
everyday or banal nationalism and its relationship to education. Concerned people
and researchers often discuss globalization or its supposed opposite, aggressive and
ostentatious nationalism. They usually do this as moralists, and it is precisely in this
role that they always point to others, other perpetrators and other victims, but never
actually to themselves. The history of the last 200 years has shown how strongly
nationalism creates identities, which, not least – and not coincidentally –, have
become extremely visible again just now as mankind has had to fight a global virus,
Covid-19. Under the motto, “Looking away is useless,” this Special Issue is devoted
to the question of the extent to which modern education with its institutions,
strategies and practices is related to the discursive reproduction of nationalism
as an identity-generating cultural thesis about belonging. While the contributions
collected here present individual case studies, the introduction first aims at defining
basic concepts such as “nation,” “state” and “nation-state.” On this basis, approaches
to educationally relevant research on nationalism will be discussed, such as the
notion of nation as “second nature” of man, the idea of “doing nation” borrowed
from gender studies, or, finally – with specific reference to the curricula – the
development of “national literacies” as core effects on modern schooling.
Key words: curriculum; doing nation; globalization; national identity; national

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