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Journal: Historijski pogledi//Historical Views (Vol.III, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 91-107

Keywords : Textbooks; Curriculum; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Serbia; Croatia; analysis; history; primary school; secondary school;

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Textbook literature is not only an interesting object of research, but also a kind of mirror of the society that produces them. In a way, they represent the basic source of knowledge for students, and their content represents a certain type of absolute truth or canonized knowledge. This is especially true for history textbooks, which show students what memory state systems not only recommend but also determine. This means that such textbooks are a reflection of the official attitude towards the past, so they are one of the most powerful instruments of action on the collective consciousness of young people, but also society as a whole. Namely, the "truth" that is built into school textbooks inevitably becomes a "living truth", having in mind the age and quantity of the reader's body. It does not take much intellectual effort to properly understand, then, the potential energy that ethnic prejudices loaded in this way, based on historical myths, half-truths and untruths, carry with them. Textbooks from Serbia and Croatia were imported and used in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a while, and in recent years the contents of textbooks from the mentioned countries have served as a template for the production of textbooks that are printed and published in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In all such textbooks, examples have been identified in which entire teaching units are dedicated to events, personalities and locations that are not from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thus, for example, in terms of belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina, negative examples dominate and the analyzed textbooks do not encourage the creation of a sense of a common heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the same time, students do not develop critical thinking, and explanations of historical-political processes are burdened with political interpretations that largely support valid auto and hetero-stereotypes. Policy options and processes are presented in a way that continues to support established attitudes about what has happened in the past, and current stereotypes about one's own and other peoples and their role in those processes. Having in mind, therefore, that the textbook content necessarily reflects the dominant ideology and current government policy, we tried to use the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to question the political function of the textbook, more precisely to show indicators of paternalistic attitude towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are generated through Serbian and Croatian education system both in the home countries and in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself. The question that is specifically posed here is twofold: To what extent are conflicts and ethnic tensions, which have been present in all societies throughout history, reflected in school textbooks, and to what extent do school textbooks themselves convey these conflicts. The latter entails further sub-questions, such as the extent to which the textbook medium intensifies conflicts and the extent to which it calms and breaks them down. The topic itself is very broad and almost forces it to be sketched in such a small space only theoretically, which is less useful. Therefore, attention will be focused here on selected specific examples that deal with individual historical events, which are the subject of public debate, or conflict between Serbian and Croatian historiography when it comes to the origin and affiliation of the population and state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Last modified: 2021-02-01 22:27:10