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The language issue! Representations of the Finnish Civil War 1918 in history textbooks (1960–2011)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The language issue! Representations of the Finnish Civil War 1918 in history textbooks (1960–2011)

The Finnish-speaking majority and members of the Swedish-speaking minority participated on both sides in the civil war, although the Swedish-speaking minority is historically associated with the non-socialist, conservative-led senate and the paramilitary white guards – the conquerors. The main object of this history textbook analysis is to compare Swedo-Finnish and Finnish narratives of the civil war as a national collective trauma (Ylikangas, 1993). The underlying premise of this study is that civil war is a problematic topic to address in history textbooks. The textbooks are per se consensus-oriented and have the overarching aim of maintaining or producing a conception of a unified society (Williams, 2005; Foster, 2012). The fact that civil war divides a population in two parties – conquerors and defeated – is in this perspective considered a problem. 

Theoretically the paper takes as its starting point that curricula and textbooks are authoritative texts, expressing the dominant ideology in a community (Englund, 1986; Apple, 2004). As such, they help to maintain and negotiate certain views on historical events and processes (Foster, 2012). Although this assumption is an established idea in curriculum studies the paper focuses on differences in textbook material, which have ideological implications. A mixed method, with both qualitative and quantitative methods, is used in the analysis of the content of textbooks.

 

The results of the analysis show that the national trauma and the suffering of the defeated red soldiers and civilians are more prominent in the Finnish textbooks than in the Swedo-Finnish textbooks. This is expressed by more expressive photography and illustrations of white execution squads shooting defeated red paramilitary guards and of female red soldiers. The Finnish textbooks also have a more frequent use of explicit and metaphorical description of trauma, where terms such as bottomless gaps, deep wounds, bitterness, hatred and revenge are used. This type of illustration and use of metaphorical expressions are almost absent in the Swedo-Finnish textbooks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
History textbook, Finnish civil war
National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331050OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331050DiVA: diva2:1148152
Conference
IARTEM. International Association for Research on Textbooks and Educational Media 14th IARTEM Conference September 2017, Lisbon
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2017-10-10

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf