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Constructing Europe and the European Union via Education

Contrasts and Congruence within and between Germany and England

Eleanor Brown, Beatrice Szczepek Reed, Alistair Ross, Ian Davies and Géraldine Bengsch

This article is based on an analysis of the treatment of the European Union in a sample of textbooks from Germany and England. Following contextual remarks about civic education (politische Bildung) in Germany and citizenship education in England and a review of young people’s views, we demonstrate that textbooks in Germany and in England largely mirror the prevailing political climate in each country regarding Europe. At the same time, the analysis reveals a disparity between the perspectives presented by the textbooks and young people’s views. The textbooks in Germany provide more detail and take a more open approach to Europe than those in England. Finally, we argue that the textbooks may be seen as contributing to a process of socialization rather than one of education when it comes to characterizations of Europe.