National myths and democratic history education: secondary students’ discursive construction of Catalan nationhood

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Abstract

This study aims to refine our understanding of the potential perils and possibilities of national myths for democratic history education. Previous research studies in history education have often assumed that national myths are ideological constructs serving the interests of the privileged. This study examines national myths as empty signifiers responding to students’ present demands. The focus is the case of Catalonia, where nationalism has recently grown. Based on interview (14) and questionnaire (340) data collected from Catalan secondary students, my analysis suggests that national myths can be open to existing contemporary demands against a powerful Other. As such, national myths can be considered an interface where history educators can intervene. National myths, and likely other myths and countermyths, might implicitly or explicitly exclude some students whilst providing others with a collective identity capable of political action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-191
Number of pages19
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Catalonia
  • democratic education
  • History education
  • Laclau
  • myths
  • nation

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