Political textbooks in a political world: a case-study of an Estonian history textbook
Bentley, James Berkeley
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In the 1990s, the Estonian state was characterized by a relatively rapidly developing political scene. The developments occurred in such a short time period as to render the national history textbook ineffective and thus ill-suited to its perceived use as a tool of socialization into the state, providing an excellent case-study of the limitations of the relationship between textbook and state. This study analyzes the narrative of an Estonian national history textbook produced in the mid 1990s and uses the product of that narrative analysis to map the shifting political winds as represented in the professional rhetoric of the Estonian head-of-state over the course of that textbook’s conception, production, and use in Estonian public high schools: from 1994 through the 1998 school year. The results of this study are an identification of the driving threads of the Estonian historical narrative presented in the textbook and a view of the changing interpretation and reconstruction of that historical narrative by President Lennart Meri over the course of the time period studied.