Warum nicht Europa? : Erklärungsversuche für das französische „Nein“ mit Hilfe von Schulgeschichtsbüchern (1998 bis 2004)

Schulgeschichtsbücher können sehr aufschlussreich sein, wenn es um die Erklärung von (zeit-)historischen Zusammenhängen geht. Dies beweist Bärbel Kuhn in ihrer Analyse zum französischen Volksentscheid von 2005 gegen den Vertrag über eine Verfassung für Europa.
In a referendum held in 2005, French voters rejected the treaty on a European constitution. The majority of the “nays” were young voters. The question therefore arises: which notions of the European Union influenced these young people when they went to the ballot box? Why was it that they obviously did not consider the advantages and the challenges posed by the treaty to relate to each other in a balanced and acceptable way? Based on a scrutiny of 15 French history textbooks used in schools between 1998 and 2004, which – among many other factors – have influenced the „nay“ generation in issues of European politics, this contribution investigates the degree to which these books have prepared young people for the central issues deserving their attention against a background of the draft of a European constitution. The results show that whereas the opportunities offered to the French nation by membership of the European Union are not denied, the problems and challenges are accentuated. Instead of stressing that European identity cannot replace but can complement national identity, there is a tendency in these textbooks to emphasize fears of losing national sovereignty and cultural heritage. They fail to convey the idea that it is not only a question of expanding French values in a European context but also of integrating European aspects into French identity.
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