Transnational Identities and Values in Textbooks and Curricula

  • Simona Szakács


This chapter reviews some of the most prominent directions of study on educational media stemming from recent scholarly developments occasioned by the interrelated transnational methodological and thematic turns. I focus on two aspects in research on textbooks and curricula worldwide: (1) transnational identities, understood as novel loci of affiliation, particularly in the European context, and (2) transnational values, understood as building blocks of a universalising ethos which promotes the projection of transnational identities. The chapter first reviews the key thematic clusters, research questions, and geographic areas addressed in this field of study. It then presents dominant theoretical and methodological choices, to finally move to key findings and debates that structure current preoccupations with transnational identities and values in textbook research. An evaluation of the current state of research and suggestions for future directions are given at the end.


  1. Ahmad, I. (2008). The Anatomy of an Islamic Model: Citizenship Education in Pakistan. In D. L. Grossman, W. O. Lee, & K. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Citizenship Curriculum in Asia and the Pacific (pp. 97–109). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anklam, E., & Grindel, S. (2010). Europa im Bild – Bilder von Europa. In E. Matthes & C. Heinze (Eds.), Das Bild im Schulbuch (pp. 93–108). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.Google Scholar
  3. Appadurai, A. (1990). Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy. Theory, Culture & Society, 7(2), 295–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Araújo, M., & Maeso, S. R. (2012). History Textbooks, Racism and the Critique of Eurocentrism: Beyond Rectification or Compensation. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(7), 1266–1286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Astiz, M. F., & Mendez, G. (2006). Education for Citizenship: The Argentine Case in Comparison. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 1(2), 175–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Banjac, M., & Pušnik, T. (2015). Making Citizens, Being European? European Symbolism in Slovenian Citizenship Education Textbooks. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(5), 748–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck, U., & Sznaider, N. (2006). Unpacking Cosmopolitanism for the Social Sciences: A Research Agenda. The British Journal of Sociology, 57(1), 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bozec, G. (2010). L’Europe au tableau noir [Europe at the Blackboard]. Politique Européenne, 30, 153–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bromley, P. (2009). Cosmopolitanism in Civic Education: Exploring Cross-National Trends, 1970–2008. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 12(1), 33–44.Google Scholar
  10. Bromley, P., & Cole, W. (2016). A Tale of Two Worlds: The Interstate System and World Society in Social Science Textbooks, 1950–2011. Globalisation Societies and Education, 15(May), 1–23.Google Scholar
  11. Bromley, P., & Mäkinen, E. (2011). Diversity in Civic Education: Finland in Historical and Comparative Perspective. Journal of International Cooperation in Education, 14(2), 35–50.Google Scholar
  12. Bromley, P., & Russell, S. G. (2015). The Holocaust as History and Human Rights: A Cross-National Analysis of Holocaust Education in Social Science Textbooks, 1970–2008. In Z. Gross & D. E. Stevick (Eds.), As the Witnesses Fall Silent: 21st Century Holocaust Education in Curriculum, Policy and Practice (pp. 299–320). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Brubaker, R., & Cooper, F. (2000). Beyond “Identity”. Theory and Society, 29(1), 1–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brubaker, R., Feischmidt, M., Fox, J., & Grancea, L. (2006). Nationalist Politics and Everyday Ethnicity in a Transylvanian Town. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Buckner, E., & Russell, S. G. (2013). Portraying the Global: Cross-national Trends in Textbooks’ Portrayal of Globalization and Global Citizenship. International Studies Quarterly, 57(4), 738–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Challand, B. (2009). European Identity and External Others in History Textbooks (1950–2005). Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, 1(2), 60–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chisholm, L. (2008). Migration, Citizenship and South African History Textbooks. South African Historical Journal, 60(3), 353–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dale, R., & Robertson, S. L. (2009). Beyond Methodological “Isms” in Comparative Education in an Era of Globalisation. In R. Cowen & A. M. Kazamias (Eds.), International Handbook of Comparative Education (pp. 1113–1127). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dierkes, J. (2005). The Decline and Rise of the Nation in German History Education. In H. Schissler & Y. N. Soysal (Eds.), The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition (pp. 82–103). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  20. Doong, S. (2008). Taiwan’s New Citizenship Curriculum: Changes and Challenges. In D. L. Grossman, W. O. Lee, & K. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Citizenship Curriculum in Asia and the Pacific (pp. 43–60). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elmersjö, H. A. (2011). The Meaning and Use of “Europe” in Swedish History Textbooks, 1910–2008. Education Inquiry, 2(1), 61–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Falaize, B. (2010). Labor Migration and Immigration History in French Schools. In C. Hintermann & C. Johansson (Eds.), Migration and Memory: Representations of Migration in Europe Since 1960 (pp. 94–109). Innsbruck: StudienVerlag.Google Scholar
  23. Faure, R. (2011). Connections in the History of Textbook Revision, 1947–1952. Education Inquiry, 2(1), 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fuchs, E. (2014). History of Education Beyond the Nation? Trends in Historical and Educational Scholarship. In B. Bagchi, E. Fuchs, & K. Rousmaniere (Eds.), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  25. Genovesi, G. (Ed.). (2000). L’immagine e l’idea di Europa nei manuali scolastici (1900–1945). Milan: Franco Angeli.Google Scholar
  26. Georgescu, D. (2007). South Eastern Europe in Romanian Textbooks of World History: Negotiating Regional Identity at the Intersection of European and National History. In A. Helmedach (Ed.), Pulverfass, powder keg, baril de poudre? Südosteuropa im europäischen Geschichtsschulbuch: South Eastern Europe in European History Textbooks (pp. 283–303). Hanover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung.Google Scholar
  27. Gross, M. (2010). Rewriting the Nation: World War II Narratives in Polish History Textbooks. In I. Silova (Ed.), Post-Socialism Is Not Dead: (Re)Reading the Global in Comparative Education (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Volume 14) (pp. 213–245). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  28. Grossman, D. L., Lee, W. O., & Kennedy, K. J. (Eds.). (2008). Citizenship Curriculum in Asia and the Pacific. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Han, C. (2007). History Education and “Asian” Values for an “Asian” Democracy: The Case of Singapore. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 37(3), 383–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Helmedach, A. (Ed.). (2007). Pulverfass, Powder keg, baril de poudre?: Südosteuropa im europäischen Geschichtsschulbuch/South Eastern Europe in European History Textbooks. Hanover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung.Google Scholar
  31. Holmén, J. (2011). Nation-Building in Kenyan Secondary School Textbooks. Education Inquiry, 2(1), 79–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kämmer, C. (2007). Continuity and Change of Values: An Analysis of Literary Textbooks of Taiwanese Junior High Schools. In C. Storm & M. Harrison (Eds.), The Margins of Becoming: Identity and Culture in Taiwan (pp. 69–82). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.Google Scholar
  33. Keating, A. (2009). Nationalizing the Post-National: Reframing European Citizenship for the Civics Curriculum in Ireland. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(2), 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keating, A., Ortloff, D. H., & Philippou, S. (2009). Citizenship Education Curricula: The Changes and Challenges Presented by Global and European Integration. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(2), 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kisby Littleton, F. (2017). The Crusades in English History Textbooks 1799–2002. In (Re)Constructing Memory: Education, Identity, and Conflict (pp. 147–169). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koulouri, C. (Ed.). (2002). Clio in the Balkans: The Politics of History Education. Thessaloniki: Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe.Google Scholar
  37. Lässig, S. (2009). Textbooks and Beyond: Educational Media in Context(s). Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, 1(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lässig, S., & Pohl, K. H. (2009). History Textbooks and Historical Scholarship in Germany. History Workshop Journal, 67(1), 125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lee, W. O. (2008). The Development of Citizenship Education Curriculum in Hong Kong After 1997: Tensions Between National Identity and Global Citizenship. In Citizenship Curriculum in Asia and the Pacific (pp. 29–42). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lerch, J., Bromley, P., Ramirez, F. O., & Meyer, J. W. (2017). The Rise of Individual Agency in Conceptions of Society: Textbooks Worldwide, 1950–2011. International Sociology, 32(1), 38–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Macgilchrist, F., & Christophe, B. (2011). Translating Globalization Theories into Educational Research: Thoughts on Recent Shifts in Holocaust Education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(1), 145–158.Google Scholar
  42. Malatesta, S., & Squarcina, E. (2011). Where Does Europe End? The Representation of Europe and Turkey in Italian Primary Textbooks. Review of International Geographical Education Online, 1(2), 113–140.Google Scholar
  43. Meyer, J. W., Boli, J., Thomas, G. M., & Ramirez, F. O. (1997). World Society and the Nation-State. American Journal of Sociology, 103(1), 144–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Michaels, D. L., & Stevick, E. D. (2009). Europeanization in the “Other” Europe: Writing the Nation into “Europe” Education in Slovakia and Estonia. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(2), 225–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Millei, Z., & Imre, R. (2016). Introduction: Childhood and Nation. In Z. Millei & R. Imre (Eds.), Childhood and Nation. Interdisciplinary Engagements (pp. 1–22). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  46. Moon, R. (2013). Globalisation and Citizenship Education: Diversity in South Korean Civics Textbooks. Comparative Education, 49(4), 424–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Moon, R. J., & Koo, J. (2011). Global Citizenship and Human Rights: A Longitudinal Analysis of Social Studies and Ethics Textbooks in the Republic of Korea. Comparative Education Review, 55(4), 574–599. Scholar
  48. Müller, G. (Ed.). (2011). Designing History in East Asian Textbooks: Identity Politics and Transnational Aspirations. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Nozaki, Y., Openshaw, R., & Luke, A. (Eds.). (2005). Struggles Over Difference: Curriculum, Texts, and Pedagogy in the Asia-Pacific. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  50. O’Connor, L., & Faas, D. (2012). The Impact of Migration on National Identity in a Globalized World: A Comparison of Civic Education Curricula in England, France and Ireland. Irish Educational Studies, 31(1), 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pereyra, M. A., & Luzón, A. (2005). Europe in Spanish Textbooks: A Vague Image in the Space of Memory. In H. Schissler & Y. N. Soysal (Eds.), The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  52. Philippou, S. (2009). What Makes Cyprus European? Curricular Responses of Greek-Cypriot Civic Education to “Europe”. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(2), 199–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Philippou, S. (2011). Representations of “Europe” in the Greek-Cypriot Social Studies Secondary School Curricula: Challenges and Opportunities. In P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (Eds.), Europe’s Future: Citizenship in a Changing World (pp. 251–260). London: CiCe.Google Scholar
  54. Philippou, S. (2012a). “Europe” as an Alibi: An Overview of Twenty Years of Policy, Curricula and Textbooks in the Republic of Cyprus—And Their Review. European Educational Research Journal, 11(3), 428–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Philippou, S. (Ed.). (2012b). “Europe” Turned Local – The Local Turned European? Constructions of “Europe” in Social Studies Curricula Across Europe. Münster: LIT Verlag.Google Scholar
  56. Pilbrow, T. (2005). “Europe” in Bulgarian Conceptions of Nationhood. In H. Schissler & Y. N. Soysal (Eds.), The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition (pp. 122–137). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  57. Pingel, F. (2000). The European Home: Representations of 20th Century Europe in History Textbooks. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.Google Scholar
  58. Pingel, F. (2017). Nation, Supranational Communities, and the Globe: Unifying and Dividing Concepts of Collective Identities in History Textbooks. In M. J. Bellino & J. H. Williams (Eds.), (Re)Constructing Memory: Education, Identity, and Conflict (pp. 313–334). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Ramirez, F. O. (2012). The World Society Perspective: Concepts, Assumptions, and Strategies. Comparative Education, 48(4), 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ramirez, F. O., & Meyer, J. W. (2012). Toward Post-National Societies and Global Citizenship. Multicultural Education Review, 4(1), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ramirez, F. O., Bromley, P., & Russell, S. G. (2009). The Valorization of Humanity and Diversity. Multicultural Education Review, 1(1), 29–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Ramirez, F. O., Meyer, J. W., & Lerch, J. (2016). World Society and the Globalization of Educational Policy. In K. Mundy, A. Green, B. Lingard, & A. Verger (Eds.), The Handbook of Global Education Policy (pp. 43–63). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sakki, I. (2010). A Success Story or a Failure? Representing the European Integration in the Curricula and Textbooks of Five Countries. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.Google Scholar
  64. Sammler, S., Herfordt, E., & Nouvel-Kirschleger, M. (forthcoming). Jeux de miroir. Europa im Spiegel der deutschen und französischen Schulbücher seit 1900. Deutsch-Französische Kulturbibliothek, Band 30. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag.Google Scholar
  65. Sassen, S. (2006). Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Schissler, H. (2005). World History: Making Sense of the Present. In H. Schissler & Y. N. Soysal (Eds.), The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition (pp. 228–245). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  67. Schissler, H. (2009). Tolerance Is Not Enough. Migrants in German School Textbooks Between Stigma and Agency. Eckert.Beiträge, 5.Google Scholar
  68. Schissler, H., & Soysal, Y. N. (Eds.). (2005). The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  69. Sénécheau, M. (2006). Prehistory and the Construction of a European Identity in German History Textbooks Today. In É. Bruillard, B. Aamotsbakken, S. V. Knudsen, & M. Horsley (Eds.), Caught in the Web or Lost in the Textbook? (pp. 159–170). Paris: IARTEM and IUFM de Caen.Google Scholar
  70. Soysal, Y. N. (1994). Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  71. Soysal, Y. N. (2002). Locating Europe. European Societies, 4(3), 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Soysal, Y. N., & Szakács, S. (2010). Projections of Diversity in Citizenship Education. In C. Hintermann & C. Johansson (Eds.), Migration and Memory: Representations of Migration in Europe Since 1960 (pp. 77–91). Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  73. Soysal, Y. N., & Wong, S.-Y. (2006). Educating Future Citizens in Europe and Asia. In A. Benavot & C. Braslavsky (Eds.), School Knowledge in Comparative and Historical Perspective (pp. 73–88). Hong Kong: Springer.Google Scholar
  74. Soysal, Y. N., & Wong, S.-Y. (2010). Diversity from Within and Without: Comparative Notes from France and Japan. Multicultural Education Review, 2(1), 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Soysal, Y. N., & Wong, S.-Y. (2015). Citizenship as a National and Transnational Enterprise: How Education Shapes Regional and Global Relevance. In Y. N. Soysal (Ed.), Transnational Trajectories in East Asia: Nation, Citizenship, and Region. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Soysal, Y. N., Bertilotti, T., & Mannitz, S. (2005). Projections of Identity in French and German History and Civics Textbooks. In H. Schissler & Y. N. Soysal (Eds.), The Nation, Europe and the World: Textbooks and Curricula in Transition (pp. 13–34). New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  77. Stradling, R. (2003). Multiperspectivity in History Teaching: A Guide for Teachers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.Google Scholar
  78. Suárez, D. F. (2008). Rewriting Citizenship? Civic Education in Costa Rica and Argentina. Comparative Education, 44(4), 485–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Szakács, S. (2013). Converging with World Trends: The Emergence of the Cosmopolitan Citizen in Post-Socialist Romanian Citizenship Education. Journal of Social Science Education, 12(4), 6–22.Google Scholar
  80. Szakács, S. (2015). Europeanization qua Institutionalization of World Culture: Examples from Post-1989 Romanian Education. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 23(2), 208–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Szakács, S. (2016). 1989 as Gateway to the World? The Universalisation of Diversity and the Construction of the “New” Citizen in Romanian Civic Education. In E. Matthes & S. Schütze (Eds.), “1989” und Bildungsmedien/“1989” and Educational Media (pp. 59–71). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.Google Scholar
  82. Szakács, S. (2018). Europe in the Classroom: World Culture and Nation-Building in Post-Socialist Romania. Palgrave Studies in Educational Media. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  83. Todorova, M. (2005). Spacing Europe: What Is a Historical Region? East Central Europe/ECE, 32(1–2), 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Uguz, C. (2004). Turkey’s Historical Dilemma: The Question of European Identity and the Role of History Textbooks. Internationale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research), 26(2), 181–197.Google Scholar
  85. Vogrinčič, A., & Čepič, M. (2009). Foreigner and Foreignness in Textbook Literature, Eckert. Analysen.Google Scholar
  86. Wimmer, A., & Glick Schiller, N. (2002). Methodological Nationalism and Beyond: Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences. Global Networks, 2(4), 301–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Yan, Y. (2014). Images of Europe in Secondary School History Textbooks in the People’s Republic of China, 2014/5.Google Scholar
  88. Zambeta, E. (2005). Globalized History in a Nationalist Context: The Curricular Construction of Greece. In D. Coulby & E. Zambeta (Eds.), World Yearbook of Education 2005. Globalization and Nationalism in Education (pp. 176–196). London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  89. Zimenkova, T. (2016). Educating “Supermen” and “Superwomen”: Global Citizenship Education. In Z. Millei & R. Imre (Eds.), Childhood and Nation (pp. 229–252). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simona Szakács
    • 1
  1. 1.Georg Eckert Institute - Leibniz-Institute for International Textbook ResearchBraunschweigGermany

Personalised recommendations