Historical Narratives, Politics of Memory, and Education

  • Borislava Manojlovic


This chapter addresses the functions of historical narratives and the politics of memory in education systems of fragile and post-conflict settings. Narratives about the contentious past as taught in history classes are considered an important part of the cultural capital and collective identity of a society, serving as a nation-building tool that unifies the “in-group” and glorifies its actions. Education is an important tool through which to shape the sense of self and the collective, and which goes hand in hand with the state’s nation-building strategy. This chapter demonstrates how the focus of educators and peacebuilders should not only be on the content of historical narratives and stories, but also on the dynamics of how they are told and how they are interpreted. Although historical narratives and stories have the potential to reinforce divisions, joint and collaborative efforts between conflicting parties can be a way around this. The chapter is structured in three sections. First, discussion focuses on how historical narratives shape identities based on the “Us versus Them” dichotomy. Then, the chapter delves into sources of memory transmission and mediators of meaning as agents of change in fragile and post-conflict societies. Lastly, the chapter offers alternative solutions to the negative impact of historical memory within educational systems and beyond.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Borislava Manojlovic
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Diplomacy and International RelationsSeton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA

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