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Publication Detail
Teaching National Identity in Post-colonial Contexts: An Arendtian Reimagination
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Palacios RA
  • Date awarded:
  • Pagination:
    1, 166
  • Supervisors:
    Standish P
  • Status:
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL (University College London)
  • Language:
  • Date Submitted:
This thesis argues for a new approach to conceptualising the teaching of national identity in post-colonial schools, the theoretical underpinnings of which are founded on Hannah Arendt’s thought. I problematise the way that national identity is valued as an educational goal in Philippine schools, and propose a different approach that is applicable to post-colonial contexts and beyond. Using a historical lens, I first trace the current approach of teaching national identity in the Philippines to the American colonial period, and uncover its theoretical and ideological roots. Drawing from postcolonial thought, I argue that, for an education for national identity to be compatible with post-colonial history, it must account for the ambivalence of postcolonial identity and power disparities that have resulted from coloniality. I propose an alternative to the commonplace ‘civic/ethnic’ dichotomisation of national identity, arguing instead that national identity can be seen as either fixed or malleable, and that teaching about national identity in a postcolonial setting ought to be based on the idea that national identity is malleable. Proceeding from this, I draw from Arendt’s educational thought as a source of inspiration for reimagining the role that schools play in teaching cultural identity in post- colonial contexts. I perform a genealogy of her conceptualisation of the ‘social’, demonstrating that she advocated for schools to be liminal spaces that enculturate children into a community while simultaneously encouraging their ability to renew this culture. I build on Arendt’s ideas and the challenges posed by postcolonial thought to develop a concept of teaching national identity as play, giving examples of how this can be implemented. Finally, I anticipate a possible objection to my proposed approach, that it may lead to insularity. To prevent this, I suggest that Arendt’s notion of amor mundi be a guiding principle in the teaching of national identity.
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