National identity and European integration in secondary education: the case of Slovakia

Šulíková, Jana (2014) National identity and European integration in secondary education: the case of Slovakia. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

This thesis is set against a twofold background: national identity as a source of public resistance towards the deepening of European integration; and the possible role of education in enhancing support for the process, as endorsed through the European dimension in education, In particular, through an empirical investigation, it examines the extent to which lower secondary education in Slovakia promotes the idea of a post-national Europe or whether, by contrast, it reinforces a more nationalist approach and therefore takes an instrumental outlook on European integration, To this end, a double-structured analytical model has been created, This draws on insights from the scholarship of nationalism captured under the umbrella terms of primordialism, constructivism and ethno-symbolism and also on the academic debate on European integration, summarised in this thesis as supranationalism and intergovernmentalism, In applying it, the thesis analyses the interpretation of the nature of nations and European integration in the most recent curricula and textbooks of history, geography and civics, It also examines teachers' and students' views through a qualitative research method based on interviews and discussions, As the findings indicate, the conceptualisation of national identity within lower secondary education in Slovakia remains dominated by the academically most controversial notion, primordialism, which regards nations as unique and immutable, Particularly in the case of textbooks and teachers, this does not necessarily lead to an interpretation of European integration as an instrument of interstate co-operation (intergovernmentalism) nor to a complete rejection of an eventual post-national transformation of Europe (supranationalism), However, students' views display a higher degree of polarisation in these respects, leading to a clear opposition to supranationalism, Overall, the thesis concludes that lower secondary education in Slovakia does not demonstrate support for a genuine post-national Europe, Unaffected by scholarly advances in the study of nationalism, it remains rooted in traditional misconceptions in relation to national identity and promotes values-based coexistence and co-operation between nations and nation-states in Europe, The research is original in two ways, Firstly, it is innovative in adapting and applying the insights of the scholarship of nationalism and European integration within the context of a case study on secondary education, Secondly, it provides substantial new knowledge of learning, teaching and attitudes on these issues in Slovakia, Although the conclusions are country-specific, they have a wider significance and the thesis identifies some avenues for further research and areas for practical application of the findings within and beyond the frontiers of Slovakia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: national identity; European integration; secondary education in Slovakia; supranationalism; intergovernmentalism
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 370 Education
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2022 11:33
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2022 13:00


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