Narratives of Sustainability on Energy-Related Topics: Empirical Findings from German Geography Textbooks for Secondary Schools


  • Fabian PETTIG University of Graz, Graz, AUSTRIA
  • Miriam KUCKUCK University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, GERMANY


Energy; Sustainability Education; Narratives; Emancipatory Education; Geography Textbooks


Previous analyses of German geography textbooks confirm tendencies towards the moralization of sustainability-related content. Against this background, this study examines moralizations and normative implications of recurring sustainability narratives in German textbooks for secondary schools. From the sample of 15 current middle school textbooks from Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia, energy-related double pages (n = 106) were analyzed in terms of their surface and depth structures. The analysis focuses on the thematic and spatial references and the dimensions of sustainability, as well as on education for sustainable development (ESD 1 and ESD 2) and the transported narratives. The article concludes with the formulation of certain recommendations for action, to deal with energy-related topics in the sense of an emancipatory ESD 2, in both critical geography lessons and the design of educational media.