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European Identity and European Heritage: A Critical Approach of Greek, British and Spanish Geography Textbooks

1Department of Primary Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece


American Journal of Educational Research. 2019, Vol. 7 No. 12, 966-975
DOI: 10.12691/education-7-12-11
Copyright © 2019 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Apostolia Galani, Athina Karatza. European Identity and European Heritage: A Critical Approach of Greek, British and Spanish Geography Textbooks. American Journal of Educational Research. 2019; 7(12):966-975. doi: 10.12691/education-7-12-11.

Correspondence to: Apostolia  Galani, Department of Primary Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece. Email: ligalani@primedu.uoa.gr

Abstract

In this era of financial and migration crises that many European countries have been experiencing, together with a general feeling of dissatisfaction towards the European Union on the part of member states, questions about the formation of a shared European identity arise. This situation is aggravated by Europeans’ low regard for or, in some cases, negative feelings about European identity, and by the lack of knowledge about European cultural heritage. Education plays a significant role in the shaping of identities – including a European one, while it also is responsible for preparing students, the citizens of tomorrow, for making decisions on a wide range of issues. Geography, which is a discipline that affects the construction of identity, is a useful perspective for studying the concepts of heritage and identities in the educational curriculum. This study was undertaken as a part of CοHERE, a project funded through Horizon 2020, which investigates – both comparatively and in depth – a carefully selected range of European territories and realities. Using qualitative descriptive analysis, a method for identifying, analysing and reporting patterns (themes) within data, we examined the relationship of education to the construction of a European identity by focusing on the extent to which European cultural heritage is recorded in textbooks in Greece, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Inferences are drawn on the way that these two concepts are presented in the textbooks, as well as the extent to which the key themes of Geography address these concepts. The findings of the study and their implications are discussed.

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