Exploring History Education in Primary Schools and its Impact on Students’ Attitudes Toward Other Ethnic Groups in Divided Communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Besgul, Bora (2024) Exploring History Education in Primary Schools and its Impact on Students’ Attitudes Toward Other Ethnic Groups in Divided Communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. PhD thesis, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem, Nemzetközi Kapcsolatok és Politikatudományi Doktori Iskola. DOI https://doi.org/10.14267/phd.2024011

PDF : (dissertation)
PDF : (draft in English)

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.14267/phd.2024011


In a comprehensive study exploring the intricate relationship between history education and students' attitudes toward ethnic communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this research uncovers a complex narrative that challenges conventional expectations. Through a meticulous mixed-methods approach, the study illuminates the transformative potential of tailored history education and its role in shaping historical consciousness within divided societies. The research topic is justified by recognizing the fluidity of historical facts influenced by biases and ideologies, emphasizing the need to scrutinize sources and potential biases for a more comprehensive understanding of history. Against a backdrop of manipulated historical narratives perpetuating negative attitudes between ethnic groups, the study delves into the impact of ethnically designed history education. This focus holds relevance in academic, political, and conflict resolution contexts, promising to inform the region's educational policies and international interventions. The study's methodology employs structured surveys and semi-structured interviews, capturing quantitative data from 9th-grade students across BiH and qualitative insights from diverse experts. The analysis, rooted in historical constructivism, integrates these data streams during interpretation, providing a comprehensive perspective on the intricate interplay between history education and attitudes. The research findings unveil multifaceted insights into students' attitudes towards history education and its potential impact on interethnic relations. Surprisingly, the study reveals a generally positive view of BiH's history among students, highlighting the potential of history education to captivate students' attention and influence their perspectives. "Understanding the Present" is a prominent motivation for learning historical facts, linking past events to contemporary cultural contexts. Strikingly, students prefer "Orientation to the Future" over "Knowledge of the Past," suggesting a keen interest in comprehending present and future complexities. However, the study also reveals the potential inadvertent contribution of history education to unfriendly attitudes between ethnic groups. By intertwining politics with history education, curriculum design across ethnicities inadvertently includes hate rhetoric, nurturing negative attitudes towards other ethnic groups. The research uncovers students' awareness of various historical narratives taught in the country, reflecting an informed populace. The research dives into the pivotal role of teachers and alternative learning sources, underscoring the trust students place in teachers while recognizing complexities within the politically charged educational landscape. Surprisingly, the study indicates that history education might not significantly shape interethnic relationships at the primary school level, suggesting that other factors play a more substantial role. In a digitally influenced era, the study emphasizes the influence of documentaries and social media platforms on students' historical learning, reflecting the evolving trends in information consumption. Ultimately, the research's nuanced insights underscore the importance of adapting pedagogical approaches and curricula to foster empathy, unity, and a profound historical understanding within ethnically divided communities. In conclusion, this research contributes to ongoing discussions on history education's role in divided societies. By uncovering the interplay between history education, attitudes, and ethnic groups in BiH, it provides valuable insights for curriculum development, pedagogical strategies, and cross-cultural understanding. With the potential to inform policies that cultivate harmony and inclusivity, this study offers a pathway to a harmonious future through a comprehensive grasp of the past.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD thesis)
Supervisor:Almadi Sejla, Kemenszky Ágnes
International relations
ID Code:1322
Date:16 February 2024
Deposited On:05 Oct 2023 13:55
Last Modified:19 Feb 2024 13:35

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