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Teaching Nationalism in Schools: Decolonising the Debate

[Conference paper presentation] Abstract. Previous debates about the teaching of nationalism in schools have not typically considered the reality of power imbalances between national identities. I seek to fill this gap by introducing an analysis of power drawn from the decoloniality movement to complicate previous debates about the teaching of national identity in schools. In the first section, I clarify my use of the terms ‘nation’, ‘nationalism’ and ‘national identity’, and relate these terms to previous philosophical debates about the teaching of nationalism in schools. Then, I introduce a way of analysing power that draws from the work of decoloniality theorists. After this, I enumerate some of the ways that the ideology of the nation-state (what I call, analytic nationalism) has been challenged in the ways that both thinkers and political actors have reimagined post-colonial national identities in relation to states. Finally, I reflect on how these ideas are important in the consideration of whether and how to teach nationalism in schools.


This paper was presented at the Philosophy of Education of Great Britain (PESGB) annual conference on 3 September 2021.

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