European unification as lived memory: Shared and diverse representations in textbooks of six countries

Inari Sakki*, Eemeli Hakoköngäs, Ignacio Bresco de Brescó de Luna, Istvan Csertó, Katrin Kello, Isabel Miguel, Jennifer O'Mahoney, Tibor Pólya, Joaquim Pires Valentim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Concerned about a lack of legitimacy, European Union (EU) institutions have increasingly engaged in memory politics to enhance European identity. Yet, memory of the EU is still closely connected to the collective identity formation of nation-states, especially in the field of education, the focus of this study. Inspired by this dilemma, the present paper examines the representations of European unification in textbooks of six countries: Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Hungary, and Estonia. By focusing on countries on the margins of Europe, the present study explores shared and diverse narratives of the European unification process and asks whether or not a shared historical charter of European unification exists. All together 86 history textbooks used in upper secondary school were analysed by adopting a three-step multi-method approach. The results suggest that the representation of European unification is more diverse than it is homogenous. It can be narrated as a political value community or as a community based on utilitarian interests, or it can be represented from a unified European or from a more national perspective. Exploring representations of European unification is crucial to understanding how they can be used as legitimizing charters to navigate through the European challenges of the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)315-335
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • European unification
  • collective memory
  • lived memory
  • narratives
  • social representations
  • textbooks


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