In the series: Advances in Cultural Psychology, Jaan Valsiner Memory construction and national identity are key issues in our societies, as well as it is patriotism. How can we nowadays believe and give sense to traditional narrations that explain the origins of nations and communities? How do these narrations function in a process of globalization? How should we remember the recent past? In the construction of collective memory, no doubt history taught at school plays a fundamental role, as childhood and adolescence are periods in which the identity seeds flourish vigorously. This book analyses how history is far more than pure historical contents given in a subject matter; it studies the situation of school history in different countries such as the former URSS, United States, Germany, Japan, Spain and Mexico, making sensible comparisons and achieving global conclusions. The empirical part is based on students interviews about school patriotic rituals, very close to the teaching of history, specifically carried out in Argentina but very similar to these rituals in other countries.
The author analizes in which ways that historical knowledge is understood by students and its influence on the construction of patriotism. This book--aside from making a major contribution to the cultural psychology field--should be of direct interest and relevance to all people interested in the ways education succeeds in its variable functions. As a matter of fact, it is related to other IAP books as Contemporary Public Debates Over History Education (Nakou & Barca, 2010) and What Shall We Tell the Children? International Perspectives on School History Textbooks (Foster & Crawford, 2006).