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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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Although in the 1980s the widely shared belief was that nationalism had become a spent force, the fragmentation of the studiously non-national Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in the 1990s into a multitude of successor nation-states reaffirmed its continuing significance. Today all extant polities (with the exception of the Vatican) are construed as nation-states, and hence nationalism is the sole universally accepted criterion of statehood legitimization. Similarly, human groups wishing to be recognized as fully fledged participants in international relations must define themselves as nations. This concept of world politics underscores the need for open-ended, broad-ranging, novel and interdisciplinary research into nationalism and ethnicity. It promotes better understanding of the phenomena relating to social, political and economic life, both past and present.

This peer-reviewed series publishes monographs, conference proceedings and collections of articles. It attracts well-researched, often interdisciplinary, studies which open new approaches to nationalism and ethnicity or focus on interesting case studies. The language of the series is usually English, with authors/editors of proposed volumes responsible for meeting the Peter Lang standards of copy-editing. Book proposals for Nationalisms Across the Globe and queries should be emailed to either, or both, of the series editors:

Dr Tomasz Kamusella (University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK),

Dr Krzysztof Jaskułowski (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland),

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