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Rediscovering the political dimension of the personal life story: results from an intergenerational narrative learning project with older adults in South Westphalia

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Using qualitative interviews, focus groups, storytelling and collective journaling, the life experiences of people in a local village community, in South Westphalia, Germany, born between 1930 and 1945, were analysed collaboratively. The research intention was to give the younger generations in that region access to these experiences and insights, within the context of democratic learning and civic education. The focus of this narrative learning project was on the politically relevant issues and themes they contained, above all: the significance of free information and thought, a free cultural life, access to education for all children and youth, a self-determined life for women and girls, as well as cohesion and self-help structures in the social community. Many tales were shared from the Third Reich, making references to Wilhelmine Germany and the Republic of Weimar, including how these times had been narrated to them through their forebearers and families’ archives.
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Keywords: Narrative learning; biographical learning; civic education; democratic learning; life history

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department for the Education of Learners with Emotional, Social and Behavioral Needs, University of Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany 2: Department of Education, University of NC, Asheville, NC, USA 3: School of Education, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, NC, USA

Publication date: July 4, 2017

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