Historia som ämnesdisciplin och vardagsliv

ämnesdidaktiska utmaningar i ett flerkulturellt samhälle


  • KG Hammarlund Högskolan i Halmstad




History as discipline and as lifeworld. Challenges of history teaching and learning in a multicultural society

Even if an overwhelming majority of historians acknowledges that history can harbour a multitude of interpretations and thus a multitude of narratives of the past, history – as encountered by students from primary school to the first year at the university – more often than not takes the form of a single, coherent narrative marked by an almost inexorable determinism. Ever since the beginning of the 19th century, such public narratives have served as instruments for promoting a shared sense of (national) community, not least within the compulsory school system. In our time, in our pluralistic societies where the idea of a common past shared by all has become untenable, such public narratives also pose a dilemma that is both political and ethical: how can social coherence, inclusion, and integration be achieved if (a) community is dependent on a shared past while (b) no shared past can be found? In this article I suggest that a possible way of solving, or steering clear of, this dilemma is through a history education that strives to promote an understanding of history as interpretations, as (re-)constructions of narratives of the past. Such an understanding underlines the importance of being able to deconstruct already existing narratives. It will also elucidate history’s role in society, a role that consists not only of what history says about the past but also of what history does for shaping our perceptions of the present and the future. And, finally, it offers students the tools needed for evaluating and choosing among the many narratives of the past, picking those that may serve them as aids for temporal orientation in everyday life.