The school as a mediator of kinship relations and memory transmission within families

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Such concepts as kin, lineage, family tree, and genealogical chart were mostly absent from the school curricula in post-WW2 Latvia. Since the late 1990s, however, these concepts have steadily found a firm place in the state-approved educational standards, the primary school textbooks in History and Social Science, and the secondary school Biology program.
This paper aims to explore this particular aspect of interaction between the state and kinship, namely, the ways in which the public school curricula as well as academic contests organized by teachers’ associations in Latvia, promote the youth’s sense of a connection to the social and political history of their country. Drawing a genealogical chart or compiling a family history outline is a feat requiring at least some degree of collaboration within a kin group. More or less willingly, parents, grandparents, or guardians become co-authors on their offspring’s school projects. The school projects both appeal to the memories, transmitted within families, and actively construct these memories.
The impact of the school curricula on the kinship networks and forms of memory transmission will be explored drawing on a number of students’ projects as well as the interviews that the author conducted between February and September 2020 with the supervisors of those projects. The latter (most often the History or Biology but at times also Language and Literature teachers) represent schools in the capital city as well as in four smaller towns (in the western as well as the eastern and central part of Latvia, with Russian as well as Latvian as language of instruction).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2020
EventAnthropology of State Performance, Kinship and Relatedness: An international conference - Riga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia
Duration: 5 Nov 20206 Nov 2020


ConferenceAnthropology of State Performance, Kinship and Relatedness


  • kinship, state, school curricula

Field of Science*

  • 5.4 Sociology

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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