III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate Santiago de Compostela

III Congreso Internacional Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 14-18 de julio de 2004

Conceptos históricos y actualidad

TABLE RONDE H. Concepts historiques et actualité

Jan Van Wiele
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

"Which Concept of A Nation for which Study of Nationalim in the History of Education? A Critical Approach of Contemporary ‘Historical’ Definitions of a Nation Starting from Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities"

That the agenda for the contemporary history of education is being set by the world-wide enhancement of nationalism, there can be little doubt. A cursory examination of the periodicals and books, issued in the past 15 years in the "Georg Eckert Institut für Internationale Schulbuchforschung" - the most important centre in Europe regarding international textbook analysis - revealed a very large number of books and articles dealing with the study of nationalism of all sorts. By way of example, even here, in this regard, one can only refer to a small number of collections of articles in the following books R. Maier (ed.), Nationalbewegung und Staatsbildung. Die Baltische Region im Schulbuch; Braunschweig, 1995; M. Riekenberg (ed.), Politik und geschichte in Argentinien und Guatemala (19./20. Jahrhundert), Braunschweig, 1994, B. Mütter & U. Uffelmann (eds.), Emotionen und historisches Lernen. Forschung - Vermittlung - Rezeption, Braunschweig, 1992; V.R. Garcia & J.P. Siller (eds.), Identitäten - Mythe - Rituale. Beispiele zum Umgang mit der Nation aus Lateinamerika und Spanien, Braunschweig, 1998; E. Hinrichs (ed.), Regionalität. Der "kleine Raum" als Problem der internationalen Schulbuchforschung, Braunschweig, 1990. Nevertheless, scientific textbook analysis is marked by a lack of clarity on behalf of the term's 'nation', 'nationalism' and 'nation-building'. This has a lot to do with the different visions of these items in scientific historiographic literature on nations ans nationalism itself. Therefore a short discussion of the various definitions of these historical "constructs" seems necessary here. In this spirit we will consider briefly the problematic of conceptualisation of these phenomena in Benedict Anderson's small but brilliant book Imagined Communities[1]. De relevant theses and conceptions of Anderson will be confronted with parallel scientific literature that provides in some cases more balanced and even differing paradigms. In this way, we hope to shed more light on observable facts that are more than ever in the center of the actual history of educational mentalities.


[1] B. Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London-New York, 19967.

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