The Politics of Education and Building the Nation

  • Yeşim Bayar


The transformation of subjects into citizens typically entails not only the creation of a homogeneous linguistic base but also, relatedly, the re-education of the citizenry. The latter transformation normally involves the reconfiguration of an education system through redefining the content and aims of schooling. Writing on France, Weber summarizes the role of schooling concisely in the context of nation-building: “Schools provide a complementary, even a counter-education, because the education of the local society does not coincide with that needed to create a national one. This is where schooling becomes a major agent of acculturation” (1976: 330). Similarly, education has a critical place in Gellner’s theory. Within his framework, education or “exo-socialization” ensures the proper functioning and reproduction of industrial societies (Gellner 1983: 37–38). It is through schooling that individuals develop the capacity to communicate with each other in a context-free manner. At the same time, through the workings of a universal, standardized and nationalized education system citizens come to share the same (i.e. a homogeneous) culture. Other scholars underline the role of schooling in the moral education and social disciplining of future generations. In some countries, which Hroch defines as “state-nations” (i.e. France, England and Sweden), education historically served the interests of state integration through increasing coherence; in other cases (i.e. multi-ethnic empires) the primary goal was to “educate the young generation in the spirit of loyalty towards the state and its ruling nation” (2006: 28).


Education System Political Elite Religious Education National Unity National Education 
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© Yeşim Bayar 2014

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  • Yeşim Bayar

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