Research in Science Education

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 811–832 | Cite as

“Romantic”, “Classic” and “Baroque” Views of Nature: An Analysis of Pictures About the Environment in Greek Primary School Textbooks—Diachronic Considerations

  • Rea Lemoni
  • Anastasia G. StamouEmail author
  • George P. Stamou


Taking the view that pictures are not a transparent but rather a deforming mirror of reality, shaping representations of the world bound up with the interests of the social institutions within which pictures are circulated and read, our aim is to explore what view of nature and of the human-nature relationship is built in Greek natural science school textbooks. The particular textbooks analysed have been recently introduced (in 2006 and 2007) into Greek education. The pictorial analysis suggests that a “baroque” view of nature and of the human-nature relationship predominantly emerges, according to which nature is constantly in motion, and therefore random and unpredictable natural change could be “normal”. Natural environments are viewed in materialistic terms, being transformed by humans and serving as a resource. A comparison with our analysis of the older textbooks written in the early 1980s (Korfiatis et al. 2004) seems to indicate important conceptual differences between the two series of textbooks. The “romantic” and “classic” views of nature in the old textbooks could express the vigour, the optimism and the innocence characterising industrial societies (or in the process of industrialisation) about human interventions in the environment. Conversely, the “baroque” view found in the new textbooks probably marks the scepticism of post-industrial societies about natural phenomena.


Companion meanings Content analysis Greece Pictorial analysis School textbooks Views of nature 



All pictures from the Greek school textbooks are reproduced with the kind permission of the Greek Institute of Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rea Lemoni
    • 1
  • Anastasia G. Stamou
    • 2
    Email author
  • George P. Stamou
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Natural Resources ManagementUniversity of Ioannina, GreeceIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.Department of Early Childhood EducationUniversity of Western MacedoniaFlorinaGreece
  3. 3.School of Biology, Department of EcologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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