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  • Schoolbook as an instrument of in-group cohesion and social integration: various strategies of intergenerational cultural transmission in the Latvian and the Polish primers and textbooks of Russian emigration in 1920s

Article

Schoolbook as an instrument of in-group cohesion and social integration: various strategies of intergenerational cultural transmission in the Latvian and the Polish primers and textbooks of Russian emigration in 1920s

History of Education and Children's Literature. 2018. Vol. XIII. No. 2. P. 31-47.

The article reviews a problem set of intergenerational cultural transmission through the example of primers, which were published for Russian-speaking children in Latvia and Poland in the period of 1920s. We compare the content of the alphabet books published in limitrophe states with the content of the alphabet books published in Soviet Russia at the same time, so as to reveal the particular nature and instruments of socio-cultural transmission in the communities of Russian-speaking minorities who found themselves in the actual emigration. Conceptual framework of research consists of culture typology by M. Mead and recent studies of intergenerational cultural transmission and social cohesion. Source base of conducted research consisted off three primers published in 1920s in Latvia and one primer published in Poland. In addition we reviewed two primers published within the same time frame in Soviet Russia. Model of intergenerational transmission in the analyzed Latvian emigrant primers is based on a child’s urge to individual development of values and guidelines, testing of behavioral practices, etc., using means recommended by adult community, i.e. knowledge and education. Therefore, Latvian primers «allow» children to be included in network of weak ties, thereby loosening in-group cohesion, but preparing children for integration into dominant culture.  In the Polish edition of primer for Russianspeaking children one can observe classic post figurative type of intergenerational cultural transmission. This «permanence» of conveyed values and illusion of stability homogenize community, both vertically and horizontally, and provide in-group cohesion, protecting the group as a cocoon from cultural diffusion and assimilation. In Polish textbooks this cohesion strategy is supported and strengthened by representation of external environment as hostile and in-group environment as stable, based on age-proven popular wisdom and support of superior, i.e. divine, essence. Content analysis of primers published in 1920s in Soviet Russia allows talking about reconstruction of postfigurative type of intergenerational cultural transmission. In the context of actual abruption of cultural continuity the strategy of extrapolation of intrafamilial model to the society at large is used here. It enables to normalize current social transformations and legitimates established social hierarchy.