by Nina Hood & Marek Tesar
What does it mean to be patriotic? How are notions of patriotism (re)presented and performed in curriculum materials? In attempting to answer these questions, we contend that it is necessary to move beyond the word patriotic as an isolated concept to explore it in relation to specific temporal, geographic, political, economic, and institutional contexts. Patriotism, or to be patriotic, is conceptualized and means something quite different—and manifests differently—in different eras and in different countries.
We utilize curriculum materials and documents as a lens through which to explore different conceptions and manifestations of patriotism as they pertain to the education of children in two very different national and historical contexts: communist central European Czechoslovakia of the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary New Zealand in the deep South Pacific. Patriotism in education in Czechoslovakia of the 1970s and 1980s took the form of positioning oneself loyal to one block (communist or non-communist) or another (enemy vs. non-enemy). In contrast, this form of nationalistic patriotism is largely absent from contemporary New Zealand education where, at least as it is conceptualized in educational policy, there is, as Roberts (2009) suggests, a “new patriotism” focused on success in the global economy. This new patriotism of contemporary New Zealand is more global and neoliberal in nature and stands in distinct contrast to the first-world, second-world structure of the patriotism visible in communist Czechoslovakia.
Read the Full Essay