Europe and its Shadow This text is a part of the research "The Bulgarian School and the Perception of Europe", undertaken by a team from the Institute for Critical Social Studies in cooperation with the Bulgarian Colleges Foundation and financed by the MATRA KAP Programme of the Royal Dutch Embassy. The research is part of the long-term research and educational programme of the ICSS in sociology of history. The sociological part of the project was implemented between March and July 1999 and included focus groups with high school history teachers and a questionnaire with students. The article presents the results from the group discussions with teachers (two in Sofia and two in Plovdiv).

European unification is perceived in Bulagria largely as a Western act and a mechanism of “pushing out” the areas defined as other – such as “the Balkans”. This view emerges during a study of Bulgarian history teachers and their perceptions – and hence the “invisible curriculum” they pass on to their students.

The Hidden Curriculum in “Europeanisation”

Sociologists working with education have long ago established that there is a hidden curriculum which, in contrast to the visible one, provides the students with inarticulate models of thinking rather than with explicit knowledge of facts, historical judgments and opinions. It teaches “how” the issues should be perceived rather than “what” they are.1 The hidden curriculum is not identical to the opinion of teachers as instructors (undoubtedly different from that of teachers as experts) as whole layers of this position may remain obscure to them also. In the context that interests us we believe we can speak of a kind of hidden curriculum in Europeanisation that takes place during history classes in all grades. It is without doubt a result of a number of different, even contrasting, conceptual influences. On the one hand, there is the influence of the official historical discourse, which since 1990, following the political dream of post-communist Bulgaria – integration in “Europe” – has given a special task to the history lessons: to present Bulgarian history as an organic part of European history (see Methodological Directions of the Ministry of Education and Science since 1992). On the other hand, there exists the influence of tradition, which Bulgarian teachers have been socialised in. The various generations of textbooks may have a life of two to three years, but this is not the case with Bulgarian teachers! The experience among current media images embedded by commonly shared discontent from the political dream that was not accomplished, comes in its turn. And last but not least, the foreboding of that re-modelling of the personal identity appears with the multimedia revolution, which the teenagers participate in, while it remains an unattainable experience to adults. These are, in fact, the streams of the more general process of re-defining of our national identity, in which the history teachers are, so to say, front-line functionaries. Confronted by the necessity to produce sense by linking in coherent chains the facts from the past and the present, the teachers are busy with the constant search for signs in Bulgarian and European history. On the one hand signs for our European links, and on the other, for Europe’s symbolical coming (condescending) nearer to us. Exactly this – often random, improvised and biographically biased – re-emphasising of periods and events from Bulgarian and European history, which are given the value of a sign for shared affiliation, is the essence of the hidden curriculum in history teaching.
The structure of this hidden curriculum can be extracted from the pedagogical discourse, mainly from the moments when teachers talk about the perceptions of their students without being asked to do so directly. Dealing with the students’ point of view – with the students’ ignorance (or knowledge) – is in principle the dynamic element of the pedagogical practice which opens its free spaces and stimulates inventiveness. The extent to which, through the students’ ignorance, teachers meet with the reality that is beyond their control – with the cultural models coming from the media, the family and the friends – provokes either the knowledge of their discipline or their institutional role as a whole. The way they occupy this border field, this “zone of uncertainty” (in Pierre Bourdillon’s words) – whether they inhabit it actively, or, feeling helpless, withdraw from it (refuse to comment), what schemes of interpretation they have after being deprived of the support of their knowledge of their discipline (to what extent they stay with the schemes of the sound reason, or use some more specialised liberal arts knowledge) – defines the hidden curriculum, placed in their teaching. In this sense, the hidden curriculums in Europeanisation are local. In contrast to the official historical discourse of the textbooks (the visible curriculum) they depend entirely on the mentality of the teacher and the students, who together produce a local order of education.

The Methods

The task of the research is to register whether, and in what form, certain disparities, contradictions or tensions exist between the different levels of knowledge (of the teacher as a citizen, an expert in history and an educator), how these are resolved and how the European or the non-European identity of the Bulgarian teacher is constituted. This background experience or background knowledge that embodies the civic visions of teachers and which most probably is not articulated in front of the students, but permeates and “colours” the entire pedagogical discourse, determines to a great degree how and to what extent the major task of the history teaching for the last ten years can be solved at all.
In order to carry out this research task we divided the questionnaire we used for the focus group discussions, into two parts. The first part contained questions which directed the interest towards topics from the media, from the general background of the theme “Europe”. We presumed that although the teachers might distance themselves from journalists, they would still reply in the first place as citizens though better educated historically, that they would project their individual visions for the political order of the world. With the first few questions we aimed to force participants to think of Europe as such, without juxtaposing it with the Bulgarian point of view; to place it among the other centres of the global world (the American and the Asian) in cultural as well as political aspect. As will become clear, in contrast to our expectations, this appeared to be an extremely difficult task since the topic was systematically replaced with the problem “We, Bulgarians (or, more exactly, the Bulgarian history) and Europe”. Hence we decided to slip into a kind of an associative text (“When you hear the word “Europe” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?”), which presumes far freer treatment of the topic. The next group of questions in this part gave the task of rethinking the divisions which secretly or openly intercepted present Europe and formed a number of collective identities (Schengen and those excluded from it, the Romano-German world and the Slavic world, Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy, etc.). In this task we assumed that through these divisions we would be able to recognise that broader collective identity which today justifies Bulgaria’s place in Europe (Slavism, Orthodoxy, Byzantine civilization, former Eastern Block, the Balkans, etc.). As a preliminary conclusion we could say that in the teachers’ mind such broader collective identity, which includes us, the Bulgarians, is almost lacking; and as regards to “the Balkans” being our collective identity, they are perceived as something that differs us from Europe, without giving us a sufficiently definite character. After these issues came the series of questions about the relation between “Bulgarian history and Europe”, which turned into an all-embracing topic, despite the moderator’s efforts. During this first round of questions we also used a rather unusual procedure – we asked the participants in every discussion to collectively design a kind of a portrait of Europe, using pictures chosen by us in advance. We were interested not in the finished collages, but in the comments accompanying the designing of the portrait. In the dispute of how to classify particular images (of people, symbols, situations) – as European or non-European – and how they are connected (for instance Napoleon, the guillotine and the image which is recognised as the Vienna Congress, in one of the discussions appears as a “symbolic series” of violence; Marx, Lenin and Gorbachev are placed together, as they”made the mess”, etc.), which one should be put “in the centre” (in one instance this is Napoleon as a symbol of the “first European unification, though achieved by force”, in another – the Pope), the participants demonstrated pre-discursive historical logic through which they think of the occurence of Europe.
The second part of questions in the questionnaire concentrates on the presentation of European history in Bulgarian textbooks, as well as on the teachers’ perception of the “European associations” of their students. Contrary to our hypothesis that in this instance the teachers would criticise the textbooks, the dominating motif in almost all discussions was the “advantage” of Bulgarian education over the European one with its “narrow specialisation”.

The Problem

Despite our expectations that the most significant methodological problem to confront us in the preparation, organisation and analysis of the group discussions would be the “undressing” of the teachers’ opinions from the “conceptual clothes” of their professional historical knowledge, we encountered something at first sight rather unusual. We can definitively state that in reality teachers thought, discussed and brought arguments as citizens in the first place, although this is not evident as the content is wrapped in the form of professional historical discourse. However, if we think about it, this is not entirely accidental.Although its origin could be sought even in times the former period (in the so-called “reformist” historical discourse in the history textbook by Ilcho Dimitrov from 19822), essentially the hidden curriculum in Bulgarian schools originated on November 10, 1989. The image of Europe in the history textbooks until then was negative and to a great degree uncontradictory: this was the image of the Great Powers. But, as the teachers themselves said, “suddenly Western Europe became the apogee of world culture and development” 3. “At present, we are also leaning to another ideological extreme as Europe is almost idealised in today’s textbooks.” 4. The problem, however, is not exhausted with the re-writing of school curricula and textbooks. It is not simply the hidden curriculum, but also an entire civic (political, public and media) programme for Europeanisation that has been engulfing Bulgaria’s everyday life for the last ten years. Having started as a political project, “the road to Europe” has already acquired, we could say, practical truthfulness. It is a part of the everyday life of people. It will not be an overstatement to say that the Europeanising discourse constantly haunts us: it “talks” in the electronic media and “watches” us from the first pages of the press. We notice it even in the Europeanised weather forecast or in the ECU assistance for poor families. All burdens of Bulgarian everyday life are weighed, so to say, on a European scale. Against this background, Europe’s image acquires new definition, penetrated by internal inconsistency and duality. But even now the problem is not exhausted.
There was one extremely important political moment during this ten-year period of the Bulgarian road to Europe. This is the political act (mentioned, as it happens, by the teachers many times) of Europe starting negotiations with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary (the so-called “first wave” countries). With this act Europe made the key symbolic gesture of disqualifying the Southeasten region and Bulgaria. Until this moment the fifty-year period between WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall successfully played the role of a legitimate interpretational and justifying scheme for Bulgaria’s position as part of Eastern Europe. Alongside all ex-socialist countries, Bulgaria had a seat booked on the European train, though in a second class compartment. But the invitation for membership for the “first wave countries” changed things radically by shifting the seats. All of sudden, the border was moved and Bulgaria ended up in the Balkans. “Eastern Europe” still meant being in Europe. But it became more and more difficult to match “the Balkans” and “Southeastern Europe”. If we paraphrase Ivan Krastev, “The Balkans should not have been invented again, Europe simply had to remind itself of it.”The Balkanisation of Bulgaria is a great challenge to its – until then seemingly obvious – Europeanisation. At that time an irresolvable conflict was laid between the imposed of Balkan identity and our self-awareness as Europeans. “We don’t want to be identified with the Balkans, because this often transfers concepts (for instance of the Serbs over the Bulgarians). We are in Europe, aren’t we? But even we sometimes use “Balkan” in negative sense. When we want to mention some inconveniences, we say, “things are done in the Balkan way”. On the other hand we believe we are unjustifiably discriminated” 5. It seems that the social mechanism which sociology names “self-fulfilling prophesies”, is employed. Despite the desperate resistence and the avalanche of arguments in favour of our Europeanness, secretly, slyly the label, the stigmata has turned into identity – Balkan, which means non-European, a topsy-turvy coerced identity. “We move between two great extremes of self-confidence – from national overconfidence, boasting that “we have given something to the world…”, to national nihilism, in a typically Bulgarian manner, you know Ivan Hadjiisky” 6. Paradoxically, it turned out that 50 years behind the Iron Curtain are not enough. The historical scrutiny had to go much further back into our past to search for a legitimising resource for the Europeanisation.
This is how this situation is processed in the teacher’s views. On the one hand: “I think we are in the right direction as we speak globally and and understand the EU more as a Western European Union without Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary”. On the other hand, though, “Until 1939 the Czech Republic had higher standard of living than Belgium… In reality, the Czechs are ready. They were brought back for these 50 years… But a century-long historical tradition cannot be changed for 50 years. Hungary was a part of the Great Powers. Poland – true, it had been divided…but until the 18 century Poland had been a great power” 7. We see how the contemporary symbolic geopolitical shifts in the space lead to the need for shifts (of symbolic places) in historical time. If we interpret further to the integration of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary as a sign of “fencing off” of the catholic West (“Now the borders have been redesigned to fence off the catholic world, especially after the integration of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary” 8), the search for a Europeanising power in our history will take us even further back in time and it will be found in Bulgaria’s belonging to Orthodoxy and respectively to the Byzantine civilization. Naming Bulgaria “Orthodox” and “a part of the Byzantine civilization”, the historical discourse secretly classifies it as Christian and hence, a European country9.
The conclusion is that the historical problem “Europe” has not been left in the past as an object of analysis. It exists here and now, its history is written in the present, it continues to happen. All this makes the teacher’s position difficult and responsible. Because the present problem “Europe” magnetically attracts or – conversely – rejects its past. The history teacher’s figure is significant because he should maintain the coherency between the past, the present and the future. The paradox is that he should teach history following a hidden curriculum in Europeanisation as if this history has already happened, when it hasn’t. Furthermore, it is happening in front of the history teacher and he is expected not simply to observe, but to partake in this happening. Europe’s image is a focal point of the painful clash between the citizen, the teacher and the educator. But exactly the citizen’s position is leading in the maintaining of coherency between the past, the present and the future. Because before it could be maintained as knowledge (vis-a-vis the students), it should be maintained as an opinion (i.e. vis-a-vis the teacher himself). That is why, on the surface only, it seems strange that teachers speak prevailingly as citizens, express opinions which are argued more or less convincingly, through their professional knowledge.

The Data

Two typical groups of history teachers emerged. The first is smaller, but adequately defined, while the second is decisively dominant in number. The parallel between the two groups is connected to the two contexts with relatively homogeneous contents, in which the topic “Europe” is perceived. The first is based on the perception of Europe “as it is”, and the second on the perception of Europe “for us Bulgarians”. In a stricter sociological language, this will sound like this: in the first case Europe is given a positive (again in a logical sense) identity, i.e. its image has more autonomous contents, while in the second it has a negative (in again logical sense) identity, i.e. what is said of it is always put through the prism of our experience as Bulgarians. In this case Europe is, above all, a historical complex for the Bulgarians.
In order to be able to think of Europe “as itself”, the participants undoubtedly have to be released from the “Bulgarian complex” in relation to Europe, from the painful awareness for an incomplete Europeanisation. Otherwise they would fall prey to projecting this painful awareness, which gives birth to the clich� that “there is no need to integrate or get into Europe, we have always been there.” It is not accidental that the ability to think of Europe as “itself” is definitively demostrated by fewer teachers – those with broader culture and some experience in European communication. An implicit prerequisite here is the self-perception of the person as despite-all-an-European, as able to judge for the common European affairs as an European. A starting point of the verbal expos�s was very often the mere fact of, as one participant put it, “unprecendented unification” that guarantees the entire “supremacy” of Europe or that this is the “Europe of common goals”. In this context, the relations between the French and the Germans, who are almost always discussed with unhidden amazement, are emblematic. (“During the last century Germany and France were contantly at war against each other, and now they don’t even have border control”). If we judge by the fact that, when the pictures were arranged, Gorbachev’s portrait, and his idea for a “common European home” did not emerge as central in any of them, it seems that the unification is perceived as an entirely Western act. As an opposition to this model, the image of the Balkans where “the common goals have not been realised” yet and the “borders are most serious”, emerges spontaneously. Europe’s borders remain political, so “Europe is in fact Western Europe”, not Albania, not Ukraine, it’s stakeholders are the French, the Germans, the Italians.
The parallel between the groups, however, is illustrated by the way each participant works with the professional historical discourse. The release from the specific “Bulgarian complex” for an incomplete Europeanisation is not an easy task as far as the every day historical knowledge is infused by it. It is closetted in numerous dogmas10 and clich�s which – taken out of context and used continuously by media and politicians – rule over the perception of the problem “Europe”. That is why a rather specific, privileged viewpoint which allows access beyond the dogmatised and cliched historical knowledge, is necessary.
The group of teachers who tried to think of Europe as “itself” overcame the ideologised discourse to a great extent, while the other – sticking with it – remains in the reign of the Bulgarian complex for an incomplete Europeanisation. We will define several subtypes in each group. Europe as “itself”
In the smaller group three subtypes were outlined: of the “pragmatic”, of the “psychoanalyst” and of the “philosopher of history”.
– The motto of the “pragmatic”, “If we have to act as a hurt child who has been unfairly punished, we have no chances of sending out a positive message” 11. The opinion of the pragmatic is infused by the conviction that we must act, that Bulgaria’s image in the face of Europe must be our own doing. Moreover, Bulgaria is, to a great extent, responsible for its own image. This is an involved and very active opinion, appealing to Bulgaria to learn from its history and to take responsibility for its own future.
– The motto of the “psychoanalyst”, “We attempt to escape self-awareness – of history we expect reasons for national pride and in Europe this line of culture already exists.” 12. This is an opinion that tries to question the whole long-established tradition of making history in our country (and not just in our country). History should not be written as though it is some kind of an object for temporary use, as though we can freely remember or forget it when it is more convenient for us. In order to get a release from the traumas of our history, we need to find them in our “pushed away” memory, and for that we need “more strength”.
– the motto of the “philosopher of history”: “The closeness is what takes us apart, what puts additional barriers” 13. The pathos of this opinion is to search for the in-depth reasons for what is happening, to name the things with their real names, without affront, without traumatic re-living of history. There is something like a philosophical realism, which provokes such a viewpoint. There are issues which are considered positive and there are others which seem negatively charged. The thing is we should not stay at that level but try and understand why it is so and what emerges as a result. For example: “As a historian I have remarks to the concept Europe, to the politics of Europe. However, we should admit that there is a kind of supremacy not only in the economic aspect, which is proven, but also in the cultural. It also has the advantage of being able to turn their backs to some of the enmities and find a common goal. Unfortunately we in the South cannot determine our common goals and follow them” 14.
From this angle, the Bulgarian incomplete Europeanisation seems not to be bad luck, but a question of time and “development”, an additional effort needed from us (because “we are a bit timid” or “building an image is not less important than what you really are”) and also by the European politicians (a new Marshall plan has been mentioned). If they are subsequently developed, the civic aspect of such a viewpoint would lie in the fact that prospectively, as well as retrospectively Bulgaria is to a great extent responsible for its own image, that Bulgaria’s image in Europe is its own achievement.
As far as the vision for “Bulgarian history being a part of the European” is concerned, it is described without any pathos or cliches.
“The pragmatic”: “The fact that Bulgaria is established as a part of Europe, but then Europe was divided and one of the parts dragged behind the other, etc. is clear. After November 10, no one any longer is killed for political reasons. Look at Todor Zhivkov, and look at Chauschesku, who was tried and sentenced in two hours! This also presents Bulgaria as part of Europe. A country where problems are solved in a civilised manner” 15.
“The Psychoanalyst”: “We have a self-confidence which is rather hesitant. We have achievements, but we still perceive Europe as regionally and economically defined, with economic, political and cultural borders.” 16.
“The philosopher of history”: “Undoubtedly – high culture during the Middle Ages”, “political merits for stopping the Arabs, for delaying the Turks”; “we are one of the few civilised countries that protected its Jews. While the Germans and the French were slaughtering them, a small Balkan backward state acted in a more civilised way than the allegedly great state, Germany. We protected them without having Nobel Laureates… ” 17.
Judging the textbooks in European history, the teachers thinking on the topic without the “Bulgarian complex” think that the image of Europe is “balanced”, that Europe is presented as a “model with its good and its bad sides”, as well as “being the generator of new ideas during a New time”, and also with “the egoism of the Great Powers”.Europe “for us, the Bulgarians”
The outlining of the symbolic complex Europe is possible largely into two directions. The first one is possible through free associations when the reflexive strategies of the participants are blocked (then Europe is a symbolic place linked mainly with France – Tour d’Eiffel, Paris in the 20’s, France of the 13 century). If they think deeper of Europe as a totality held together by the symbol, it falls apart (“history divides them too”) in order to be re-constructed as a new whole – the contemporary Western Europe, embodied mainly by the cooperation between France and Germany which was achieved. In this re-constructed entirety it becomes hard to draw the rational border between Europe and the West. They both secretly and openly identify themselves. (“I have the impression that we mention monuments from Western Europe all the time”, 18).
This explains the other aspect in which the symbol “Europe” is spontaneously evoked as a concept perceivable through our own identity. Then, on the one hand, the image of “Europe disqualifying us” appears as an entire concept, which in contents is hardly different from the perception of the “West” – overlapping, but not coinciding, in most cases, with that of the European Union. On the other hand, it is insisted that we belong to “them”.
Three typical constructions have been outlined in the bigger group – the one that thinks of Europe through the prism of us, the Bulgarians. However, what we have here is a specific shift in emphasis. If the people, who perceive Europe as an autonomous whole, are able, by taking a peculiar metaposition, to overcome to a great degree the characteristic historical discourse, full of clich�s and dogmas, those from the bigger group systematically stayed with the dogmas and clich�s that reproduce the national complex for incomplete Europeanisation. Europe is above all, if not only, a function, a projection of the difficult historical fate of Bulgaria and Bulgarians in the past and the present. (From here something methodologically important follows: the opinions are classified exactly through the characteristics which are given to Europe itself, not through the style of thinking of its carriers. And this is so, we will again underline, as far as the clich�s and the dogmas are used as arguments.) So the first typical construction is the “guilty Europe”, the second the “shameful Europe” and the third the “distant Europe”.
If we have to outline something as a motto of the viewpoint from which Europe is the “guilty Europe”, we would quote a teacher from Plovdiv, “let’s be weighed by the same scales: we are not worse than them in any way”.
Europe here is “on trial”: “They will never forgive us that Boris preferred – under the circumstances – the Christianisation from Constantinople… I cannot imagine I will fool the students commenting what happened after the First World War. With the blessings of great France! (There is a lot of sarcasm and bitterness in this tone). To ask the representatives of the Balkan victors: what do you want, what else can we give you?! What else can we take away?! This is an image! And this image we cannot hide from the students!” 19.
We are witnessing a “hurt”, a negative point of view towards Europe, a perspective that pretends Bulgaria to be “more European” than Europe itself (“we had once been a major factor in Europe”, “we were much ahead of them”, “in many respects we are more European than them”) and for that reason they feel unjustifiably ignored: “We are present in the foundation of the transition Antiquity-Middle Ages; we were very strongly represented in these times; it is not possible, after having such strong positions in Europe, that it should not want us. It cannot throw us out!” 20. We call this point of view “hurt”, because as it is a reaction of the disqualifying gesture of Europe, personifying so much insult, it is rigid, hardened to an extreme and resistant to every possible action. If someone has to do something, it is them, not us. Europe is the subject of responsibility and guilt.
The motto of the point of view according to which Europe is reduced to the “shameful Europe” would look like this: “We know that they are not as they want us to see them” (a history teacher from Sofia). We are witnessing a rather interesting mechanism for managing with the complex Europe. The aspiration is to show Europe, so to speak, “in its underwear”: come and see them, “we know a lot…, we know all about them, about what they have been through, what troubles they have had…” 21. This is an attempt to look “through the key hole”. But not because of some voyeuristic interest, but to demonstrate at all costs what the “real” Europe, which we aspire to and uncritically admire, is. It is, in no case, what it looks like, because it has hidden, impure sides as well as intentions (“Because, please excuse me, but what we have is not an entirely Bulgarian economic policy: this is the attitude of the European Great Powers to Bulgaria”, 22). To achieve this, the attention should be focused on “piquante details” from European history: “when people are born, they are washed, when they die, they are washed, too. An English queen made a vow not to wash until the siege of the fortress fell. And it fell after 3 years… And the sticks with which they used to clean the fleas from the heads of the beautifully made-up dammes from the French Court. This is Europe. With its narrow streets, where they used to throw the contents of their chamber pots in the morning, and in the evening they let the pigs out to clean the London streets”. Or on everyday practices from the present: “Did you know that the phrase books they sell in France are French-Portuguese so that they can find maids, nannies, cleaners who speak Portuguese. What will we be in Europe – porters and gutter cleaners?” 23.
The motto of the point of view from which Europe is thought as the “distant Europe” is “Nothing comes for free”. In this opinion, the road to Europe will not be easy at all, we have a lot of work ahead. The differences between us and the Europeans are big enough (“contradictory models in Europe and in Bulgaria”) to have any illusion. On the other hand Europe takes the role of a kind of a “screen”, “a mirror”, in which we recognise our own identity: “They have an understanding of the common interests, they have achieved this. How have they turned into a whole: Europe as a whole in economic, political, informational level, as well as as interests? We have to achieve this, too and gain the right to defend our interests as a whole” 24.We will especially outline an “impossible” (at least for the non-philosophical awareness) figure: to the extent to which Europe emerges in this figure as a national complex, the European in Bulgaria is perceived as simultanaeity of centre and periphery – we are a centre (cultural, civilisational, a “third civilisation in Europe” and at the same time we are a border, “a cordon sanitaire” of Europe, defending its borders. (It is important to emphasise that we protect its borders and not ours, irrelevant of the fact that at this time we organically belong to it, we might even be its centre. It is clear how the present experience of being Bulgarian extrapolates our present geopolitical feeling of being push out over our historical past, too.) If we try to construct a figure from the opinions, expressed by diverse participants, it will continue like this: exactly because of this duality of being centre and border at the same time Bulgaria is an immanent part of Europe, but it has not had historical time to consume this affiliation, its Europeanness. That is what’s to blame – first the five-century, and then the fifty-year hiatus. If we use this calculation, we have 66 years left (“not many, is it?”) during which Bulgaria could have consumed its “inherence” in the space “Europe”.
It could be said that one of the sources of this paradox is the non-differentiation between Europe and the West in today’s feeling of being pushed out, of periphery, otherness, of lagging behind. Exactly this feeling and the non-differentiation between Europe and the West blocks an autonomous discussion of the idea Europe and of non-geographic space Europe, pushing it either to the parliamentaty and economic model of the West, or to the ingratitude for what we suffered because of them, of whom we are a part, too.
An essential element from the discourse of the focus groups was the symptomatic confusion between the “desired” and “real” Europe – this was especially characteristic of the arrangement of the pictures. This specific “misunderstanding” of the nature of the experiment in which they are invited to participate, seems not accidental. “We remove what we don’t want, or what does not fit in Europe?”, a participant from the Sofia focus group asked. “As a wish, or as a reality?”, asked a teacher from the discussion in Plovdiv. “If we construct a desired portrait of Europe it is one task, if we construct the image of today’s Europe, of what has already happened, that is different…”, a teacher for Sofia stated, rather than asked. Without fear from overstating we would say that this is also one of the major contradictions, systematically reproducing in the teachers’s unrealised thought. This is a dilemma, which by secretly self-activating, blocks the possibility for realism in the attitude towards Europe. For example, “There are fears that with a modernisation of a Western European type we will liquidate those typically Bulgarian virtues… If we impose their typical model of narrow specialisation, we will oppose it to this broader general culture… Irrelevant of the fact that the world trends are in this direction.” 25

For the difference between the hidden and the visible curriculum in history see Deyanov, D. et al. 1995. Rewriting Modern Bulgarian History in High School History Textbooks. Sofia, edition of Ministry of Education and Science (in Bulgarian language).

Compare to Deyanov, D. et al. 1995. Rewriting Modern Bulgarian History in High School History Textbooks. Sofia, edition of Ministry of Education and Science (in Bulgarian language).

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Plovdiv

Let's remember that the "re-writing of history ... has as a beginning acts of naming, renaming or depriving of name, of "inventing" main characters and historical events, of periods and events through words" (Deyanov, D. "The State and the Common Places of Memory". In: Archive, vol. 3-4/1997 (in Bulgarian language), p. 80).

"Dogmas", "dogmatic knowledge", "dogmatised historical discourse" are expressions which will be repeatedly used. We will particularly pay attention that no judgmental sense should be put to them. In his book the "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" Thomas Kuhn describes the period between two scientific revolutions as "normal science" whose discourse is weaved out by axiomatic statements, which function as prejudiced forms. These he calls "dogmas" (see Kuhn, T. 1961. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Published in Bulgarian in 1996).

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Plovdiv

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Sofia

a history teacher from Plovdiv

Published 30 January 2002
Original in English

Contributed by Critique and Humanism © Critique and Humanism


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Interference everywhere?

Disinformation in the EP election

Cover for: And we dream as electric sheep

And we dream as electric sheep

On humanity, sexuality and digitality