G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Orders of history : an ethnographic study on history education and the enacted curriculum (2022)
Historian järjestykset : etnografinen tutkimus historiakasvatuksesta ja toteutuneesta opetussuunnitelmasta

Vesterinen, I. (2022). Orders of history : an ethnographic study on history education and the enacted curriculum [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU Dissertations, 502. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9078-7

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Vesterinen, Ida

eISBN: 978-951-39-9078-7

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2022

Number in series: 502

Number of pages in the book: 234

Publisher: University of Jyväskylä

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9078-7

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This dissertation explores the enacted history curriculum in a Finnish lower secondary school classroom. Using an ethnographic approach the study explores the core practices and ideas grounding the enacted curriculum, the relationship between the enacted and the prescribed curriculum, and the influence of contextual and situational conditions on the enacted curriculum. Data collection took place in 2017-2018 during the implementation phase of the latest national core curriculum, where the disciplinary approach stressing the knowledge formation processes of history was further promoted. The study comprises 62 history lessons of one group of eighth graders (14–15-year-olds). The data includes fieldnotes, interviews, and other materials such as exams and school textbooks. A cultural models theory was used to elicit the different culturally shared ideas grounding the enacted curriculum. Based on the analysis, the conception of school history reflected the collective memory approach to history education. However, there were also attempts to participate students in the formation of the single narrative of history. In terms of the disciplinary approach, the teacher perceived the new curriculum alongside other concurrent reforms to promote a technical–rational view of education. Thus, the curriculum represented a threat to student access to broad education and critical citizenship, especially as the role of content knowledge in the reform was unclear. The teacher also considered the specified assessment criteria to limit teacher autonomy to make teachers adopt the reform. The study implies the execution of the curriculum reform has failed to acknowledge certain cultural conditions. The more detailed design of the latest curriculum is a problematic way to make teachers whose professional identity rests on autonomy to get on board with the reform. Moreover, the emphasis placed on assessment has overshadowed questions about the purpose of the reform in history education. In addition, the conceptualisation of the disciplinary approach as ‘skills’ instead of the study of the different dimensions of historical knowledge has likely promoted the perceived disconnect between skills and knowledge, causing teachers who value broad education to suspect the reform.

Keywords: history; educational objectives; conception of history; historical consciousness; collective memory; general knowledge; curricula; primary and lower secondary education; upper comprehensive school; education policy; school reform; doctoral dissertations

Free keywords: history education; ethnography; curriculum; enacted curriculum; collective memory; disciplinary thinking; education policy; educational reform

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 20:52