European Identity and Citizenship in Estonia: Analyses of Textbooks and Theoretical Developments

Kaarel Haav

Abstract:

Purpose: This article aims at elaboration of a relevant framework for European identity and citizenship. On this basis, comparative studies like ICSS, Estonian curricula, civic syllabuses and textbooks will be critically reviewed.

Methods: The framework relies on former studies on democracy and education. The work also draws on normative materials for European citizenship, comparative empirical and critical studies. The conceptual system relies on the literature on basic sociological and semiotic concepts. This framework is used for analyses of the Estonian civic education system. 

Findings: The most general concepts like individual, society, culture, social actors and structures are defined as mutually inclusive. This has enabled to address complex and controversial social issues and achieve the aims of European identity and active citizenship.

The Estonian curricula, civic syllabuses and textbooks herald democratic ideals, but fail to provide for them relevant concepts. They focus on empirical and normative descriptions of main political institutions. The books hardly describe how could active citizens evaluate and influence these institutions. Their content avoids complex and controversial issues like hierarchical power relations and social inequality and fails to describe both the hierarchical public administration and the system for public participation in Estonia. All this rather hinders students’ political literacy, critical thinking and active participation.

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DOI: 10.4119/UNIBI/jsse-v17-i2-1728

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