The Role of Education in a Time of Austerity and Social Turbu ...

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  • Title: The Role of Education in a Time of Austerity and Social Turbulence in the European Union and Greece
  • Author(s): Anna Frangoudaki
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Ethnocentrism in the Educational Systems of the European Union and Greece, Nationalism, Multiculturalism, and Racism
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v26i01/32-40
  • Citation: Frangoudaki, Anna. 2019. "The Role of Education in a Time of Austerity and Social Turbulence in the European Union and Greece." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 26 (1): 32-40. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v26i01/32-40.
  • Extent: 9 pages

Abstract

The article focuses on the educational systems in European countries and Greece, examining the reasons of new phenomena, among which the resurgence of xenophobia. It suggests a cause-and-effect relationship between the main ideas propagated by the extreme right, disseminating in the EU fanatic nationalism and xenophobia and the ideas prevailing in the educational institutions. Despite the big differences among countries, all educational systems in the EU are ethnocentric. Thus, although influence of multicultural ideas is notable, and as far as education is concerned, evolution has been radical, schools still reproduce the idea that nations are fundamental entities, related by a common language, common origins/ancestors, and having a history and a culture of their own. As far as Greek society is concerned, analysis shows that Greek school textbooks contain a highly ethnocentric conception of history and culture, placed within an extremely Eurocentric context, reproducing, instead of challenging, the stereotype of European superiority. The Eurocentric taxonomy is inferiorizing the Greek national identity, while at the same time it is considering the products of ancient Greek culture as being of universal value. The article suggests that this evaluative double bind is harmful for Greek youth. Since Greek Antiquity is presented by schools as the emblem distinguishing Greek people from their “southern” and “oriental” inferiority, the fictitious “Greekness” narrated, in accordance with the alleged European superiority, is cultivating a national identity ambivalent and fragile, thus, an identity unavoidably defensive, xenophobic, and incapable of coping with the European times.