17 SES 01 A, Education in times of totalitarianism
In soviet Lithuania, as well as all Soviet Union, education was oriented towards “bright future”: towards communism building, creation of new soviet man. Both schooling practice and theory were directed towards this. History science was forced to serve the ideology (Švedas, 2009). Historians of Soviet pedagogy were also interested in the past of Lithuanian education only in the context of the class struggle or on purpose of showing the “backwardness of bourgeois Lithuania”. The situation changed in the end of the ninth decade, in the daybreak of independence. There emerged many articles analysing the history of education, republication of the pedagogues’ texts of the end of the 19th c. – the first part of the 20th c. was initiated. Interest in the past of education intensified more when Lithuania restored its independence in 1990. After the analysis of some publications in educational academic journals, it can be seen that the articles, intended for the history of education, make a significant part of all publications. It is especially bright during the first years of independence, but the tendency is kept almost for the whole last decade of the 20th c. (Stonkuvienė, 2016). The main object of interest of the scientists and the whole society partial to education of that time was the pedagogics of the inter-war Lithuania. After the revision of academic publications and the articles of education science popularisation, it can be seen that the education of the inter-war Lithuania was considered the prototype of “lost paradise”, interpreted as “the golden age” of Lithuanian pedagogics which was interrupted by Soviet occupation. Meanwhile, the education of Soviet times and its researches became an original “infected zone” - Chernobyl. This period was described in this way by one scientist of older generation when he was asked why there were no greater academic studies analysing Soviet Lithuanian education in almost thirty years of independence.
One of the main questions raised in this report: Whether the “zone”, consciously avoided by the scientists (in this case, education historians), is indeed dangerous, whether the danger is imaginary, related to poor research?
Nostalgia for the soviet times is named as one of the biggest dangers for modern Lithuanian society. According to I. Šutinienė, researching the memory of the soviet times in Lithuania, although “in the contexts of assessment discourses of the communist past, prevailing in post-communist countries, nostalgia is often considered politically unwanted and harmful phenomenon, directing people’s attention from the future and the present objectives towards the images of idealised past and manifesting the inadaptability of the people of post-communist societies to live in the conditions of democracy, “backwardness“”, the phenomenon of nostalgia is far more complex (2013, 151-152). That nostalgia has multiple meanings is also emphasized by M. Zembylas (2011, 2014) analysing this phenomenon in the context of education policy and practice. Namely the concept of nostalgia is the methodological basis of theoretical and empirical research. Empirical research covers the studies of soviet education of the late Soviet times (from the 7th decade of the 20th c.). The main method of this research: qualitative general guideline interview with those studying and teaching in the school of that period.
The research has just been initiated therefore at the moment it is difficult to provide objective conclusions describing it.
Stonkuvienė, I. (2016). Pedagogikos istorijos tyrimai Lietuvoje: „Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia“ publikacijų analizė [Research on the history of pedagogy in Lithuania: an analysis of publications in Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia]. Acta paedagogica Vilnensia 37, 134 –142. Šutinienė, I. (2013). Sovietmečio atmintis šiuolaikinėje Lietuvoje: ambivalentiškumas ar nostalgija? [The Memories of Soviet Era in Contemporary Lithuania: Ambivalence or Nostalgia?] Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas 32 (1), 152-175 Švedas, A. (2009). Matricos nelaisvėje: sovietmečio lietuvių istoriografija (1944-1985) [In the Captivity of the Matrix: Soviet. Lithuanian Historiography, 1944–1985]. Vilnius: Aidai. Zembylas, M. (2014). Nostalgia, Postmemories, and the Lost Homeland: Exploring Different Modalities of Nostalgia in Teacher Narratives, Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 36(1), 7-21, DOI: 10.1080/10714413.2014.866821 Zembylas, M. (2011). Reclaiming nostalgia in educational politics andpractice: counter-memory, aporetic mourning, and critical pedagogy. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(5), 641-655, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2011.620749
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