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Polish Patriotism after 1989

Concepts, Debates, Identities


Dorota Szeligowska

This book analyses the concept of patriotism and the contestation over its meaning in key public debates in Poland over the last twenty-five years. It focuses on the strategies used to define, re-shape and «bend» the notion of patriotism, which during this period has become a central issue in Polish political discourse. Contemporary Polish society is characterized by a growing polarization of the public sphere. Rivalry between former communists and former dissidents has been progressively replaced by internal opposition within the ranks of once-dissident allies, now divided into civic-minded «critical» patriots and nationalist-oriented «traditional» patriots. This division re-emerges regularly during key moments in Polish public life – most recently in the aftermath of the highly contested 2015 parliamentary elections. By tracing the evolution of the debate over patriotism since 1989, this book provides crucial insights into the current political situation.
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This book is the result of my doctoral research carried out at the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations at Central European University in Budapest. I am deeply indebted to my supervisors, professors Lea Sgier, Balázs Trencsényi and Nenad Dimitrijevic, for their help during my studies.

I also want to recognize the importance of the support of the Visegrad Scholarship Program of the International Visegrad Fund in the initial years of my doctoral studies.

I would like to thank all the teachers and researchers whose valuable advice helped me to attain this milestone. I’m deeply indebted to Hans-Dieter Klingemann, the first professor who inspired me to follow an academic career. I also want to thank Georges Mink for academic challenges at Sciences Po Paris and College of Europe, and for encouraging me to do a PhD at CEU. I want to express my appreciation towards those whom I had the pleasure to meet during my doctoral studies and at conferences, and who took their time to discuss my research and share their thoughts in order to help me advance: Jan-Werner Müller, Joanna Michlic, Geneviève Zubrzycki, Joanna Kurczewska, Maciej Janowski. I presented earlier versions of some of the chapters in this book at a number of conferences: ECPR General Conference in 2013 and 2014, BASEES Annual Conference in 2011, 2013 and 2014, and Graduate Network Conferences in 2010 and 2013, and I am grateful for all the...

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