The Flag, the National Symbol and the Map: The establishment of an Israeli identity through visual national objects in the classroom

  • Rimona Cohen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Ever since its establishment, Israel’s educational system has instituted ceremonies comprising multimodal representation: the school is perceived as an ‘agent’ of national memory (Lomsky-Feder 2003). In view of the impassioned public debate swirling around the issue of national identity in contemporary Israeli society, and as a result of structural changes in the education system, this study proposes a reexamination of the attributes of a distinct group of visual texts in the classroom. As Lomsky-Feder wonders (in relation to her research, 2003): ‘Will a diverse, stimulating and relevant interpretative discipline comprised of strong canonical foundations and innovatory, conflicting elements be revealed? Will it be possible to discern the‘negotiating for a national identity, characterised by dialectics between "different voices" stemming from civilian society and the cooptation of the hegemony? (ibid.).The research focused on visual representations in context and examined the origins of displays containing visual representations of national symbols in elementary schools in the Israeli education system, the way in which these displays have been created,their tacit and explicit meanings and the dialogue that the pupils and the teachers have with these meanings.The research is focused on two aims:(1) To discover which factors were responsible for the decision to establish areas containing visual displays of national emblems in state primary schools in Israel’s education system.(2) To identify and explain the significance of the messages relayed through visual displays of these emblems to their viewers and for their designers.The research design consisted of collecting visual and verbal data via photographs,interviews, observations and questionnaires.
Date of Award1 May 2007
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAndrew Stables (Supervisor)

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