London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Citizen’s alternatives for participation in Finnish social studies textbooks for compulsory and senior secondary schools

Author(s) Arja Virta  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
This paper draws on an analysis of Finnish social studies textbooks and their image of alternatives for participation in society, a theme that belongs to the core content of the social studies curriculum. The data derives from analysis of the books of Grade 9 of the compulsory school, and of the social studies course in the senior secondary school from the 1970s to about 2005. In this pilot study, the books were analysed by using a checklist which included such questions as how the textbooks describe ways of participation, and whether they describe also informal models of participation in society. The books for Grade 9 in particular are written in a general style, while senior secondary school books discuss more profoundly the issues of democracy. The greatest differences between the books, both between old and new books and between school levels, are in their way of discussing the various forms of having influence. Older books are more institution-centred, and see parties as central channels of participation, but the most recent secondary books describe some forms of direct action and civil disobedience.

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