Historical Consciousness, Historical Media, and History Education

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: This thesis by publication contains an introductory summary chapter and three papers. The first paper presents a study of how the concept of historical consciousness has been defined, applied, and justified in Swedish history didactical research. It finds that there is consensus regarding the definition of what a historical consciousness is, but that there is variation in how the concept is applied. It is suggested that this variation makes historical con­sciousness a complex and vague concept.     The second paper uses the results presented in the first paper as a point of departure and from thence argues for a broadened understanding of the concept of historical consciousness that incorporates its definition, applica­tion, development, and significance. The study includes research about his­torical consciousness primarily from Sweden, the UK, the USA and Canada. The paper presents a typology of historical consciousness and argues that level of contextualisation is what distinguishes different types of historical consciousnesses and that an ability to contextualise is also what makes his­torical consciousness an important concept for identity constitution and morality.     The third paper proposes a methodological framework of historical con­sciousness based on the theory of historical consciosusness presented in the second paper. It presents arguments for why the framework of historical consciousness proposed can be useful for the analysis of historical media and it discusses how aspects of the framework can be applied in analysis. It then presents a textbook analysis that has been performed according to the stipulated framework and discusses its results regarding how textbooks can be used to analyse historical consciousness and its development.