From educational theories to school materialities: The genesis of the material history of school in Italy (1990-2020). De les teories educatives a les materialitats escolars: la gènesi de la història material de l’escola a Itàlia (1990-2020)

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Abstract

This paper offers an overview of the origins and development of the material history of schooling in Italy over the thirty years between 1990 and 2020. After examining the growing influence exerted on Italian historians of education by developments in international historiographical reflection, we describe the boost provided to the study of material history in the early 2000s by pioneering studies on the history of school publishing. The latter brought to light for the first time the production processes, market dynamics, and sales strategies underpinning the production, circulation, adoption and use of textbooks in Italian schools. These studies pointed up the fundamental role played by the leading national school publishing houses, initially in the marketing of educational materials and school furnishings imported from France and Germany and subsequently in producing them: as they gradually freed themselves from their earlier reliance on foreign suppliers, a domestic school supplies industry was born. In the first twenty years of the 21st century, studies have mainly focused on how the industrial production of exercise books, blackboards, school furnishings, and scientific teaching aids, and their adoption in Italian schools, served to achieve the universal standardization of teaching methods and learning processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-77
Number of pages23
JournalEDUCACIÓ I HISTÒRIA
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • economic history
  • historiography
  • history of education
  • material culture
  • school

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