Migration, citizenship and South African history textbooks

SOURCE: South African Historical Journal
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Chisholm
KEYWORDS: CITIZENSHIP, EDUCATION, HISTORY, MIGRATION, XENOPHOBIA
DEPARTMENT: Education and Skills Development (ESD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 5590

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Abstract

This article examines how the nation and citizenship are addressed in new South African history textbooks with reference to two key issues: changing approaches to textbook analysis, migration and xenophobia. Constructions of the nation take on special significance in this context. The article uses an approach that considers both representational issues as well as the uses of textbooks in classrooms. It examines discourses of the nation in nationally distributed texts and explores uses of these and other texts in specific classrooms in urban schools. It argues that the textbooks embrace 'nation-building pluralist' and 'critical skills' or 'model textbook' conceptions. Although new textbooks appear to foreground broader notions of South Africanism incorporating inclusionary, Africanist identities and embody understandings of history textbooks as source-based in order to promote critical thinking, teachers appear to make limited use of them, preferring to rely on their own notes. The article uses a combination of secondary and primary sources to arrive at these conclusions.