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Europeanization in the 'other' Europe: writing the nation into 'Europe' education in Slovakia and Estonia

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How is the tension between renewed nationalist and European narratives of belonging being unfolded in the curricula, discourse, and practice of civic education in Slovakia and Estonia. As two post-socialist territories that were 'reborn' as independent nation-states in the 1990s, Slovakia and Estonia were confronted with pressure to 'Europeanize'. 'Europeanization' is intended to challenge doctrines of ethno-cultural citizenship, and is expected to play a significant role within civic education. One might expect nationalists in these contexts to reject Europeanization and those with a more tolerant or cosmopolitan bent to embrace it. These different case studies show, however, that educators, curriculum developers, and textbook authors at the national level do not simply dismiss conceptions of Europe. Rather, two trends emerge: First, Europe is redefined geographically, allowing Estonia and Slovakia to assert that they are inherently European (as the borderland and the centre, respectively). Second, the meaning of Europe is contested through counter-narratives about what constitutes Europeanness, and the concept of Europe is sometimes appropriated not to advance civic citizenship, but rather for exclusionary and nationalist ends.

Keywords: Estonia; Europeanization; Slovakia; citizenship education; civics; democracy; nationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan, School of Education, Ann Arbor, USA 2: University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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