Concepts, Debates, Identities
Chapter 1: Introducing Polish Intellectual Debates About Patriotism
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Introducing Polish Intellectual Debates About Patriotism
The concept of patriotism is strongly embedded in the political languages of some countries, such as the United States of America. It has also been an object of theoretical reflection in the field of political theory over the past 30 years, and a number of conceptualizations have been proposed to establish the grounds for a stable and viable political allegiance of citizens to their respective polities. One of these is ‘constitutional patriotism,’ a conceptualization that emerged in Germany in the 1980s in the context of the ‘Historians’ debate’ [Historikerstreit], about the approach to the nation’s war past. The idea of constitutional patriotism, looking beyond a purely national framework of reference, was later suggested as a possible desirable version of political allegiance to the European Union, perceived as a post-national community.
In 1989, the political changes that swept the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, leading also to the dislocation of the Soviet Union, placed a number of countries that had only a vague, if any, experience of democracy, on the road to democratic transformation. It seems natural that debates about the nature of allegiance and national identity ensued. Yet in Poland in particular, the persistence of discussions about the concept of patriotism reaches beyond merely understanding questions related to national community and statehood, and provides insights concerning broader political culture and nature of contestation.
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