Textbooks typically represent manuals of instruction or standard books in particular branches of study as well as powerful and often controversial political and ideological symbols within curriculum studies because they signify particular constructions of reality and particular ways of selecting and organizing information and knowledge. That is to say, the selection of textbook content legitimates and enfranchises some groups' cultural capital while disenfranchising and making illegitimate the “other.” In short, textbooks are manufactured articles that play a major role in defining whose culture is taught. This entry briefly details the history of textbooks, discusses the debates surrounding textbooks, and describes contemporary textbook publishing and curricular choices.


Textbooks designed for educational purposes were first written in ancient Greece. The contemporary textbook has its roots in the standardization ...

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