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Intricacies of Patriotism

Towards a Complexity of Patriotic Allegiance

Edited By Maciej Hułas and Stanisław Fel

Intricacies of Patriotism presents a selection of concepts of patria along with their corresponding forms of patriotism. The various contributions represent different backgrounds and draw a picture of patria as a universal value that is indispensible to one’s sense of self-awareness, and the identity of groups. The different understandings of patria in this collection are examples of employing patriotism to advance the identity of the group, or the individuals within it. While eulogists of cosmopolitanism tend to portray patriotism as anachronistic and irreconcilable with the «man-of-the-world-style», the notion of patria seems to be motivated by a deep concern to preserve patriotic feelings in an undistorted fashion, and to preserve them as a value of utmost importance.
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Patriotism: A Mapping of Theoretical Understandings and Empirical Studies.

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Brian Conway

Maynooth University, Ireland

Patriotism: A Mapping of Theoretical Understandings and Empirical Studies

Introduction

This chapter investigates the diverse theoretical meanings and empirical studies of patriotism from a mainly sociological perspective. As such, it seeks to provide an answer to this basic question: how is patriotism – or, more simply, “love of country” – variously interpreted and studied by sociologists? Even a cursory examination of the research literature shows that patriotism, as a significant component of national identity today, has both “nice” and “nasty” interpretations in terms of the work that it accomplishes in society, shifting from being a source of national belonging and allegiance on the one hand to a marker of ethnic superiority and dominance on the other. The latter tends to be associated with patriotism’s conceptual cousin, nationalism1. Some controversy exists about the merits of lumping or splitting these two concepts but it is difficult to speak of one without mentioning the other2. They come together in shared positive evaluative ratings of the nation3.

More recent understandings suggest that patriotism may be related to a universal or cosmopolitan understanding of humanity, allowing for the expression of affiliation with distant strange others, even encompassing non-humans4. In this ← 127 | 128 → sense especially, this category may be understood as a largely “positive” concept in the discipline but this does not preclude, as previous research shows and as this volume supports, critical interrogation of its meaning and ongoing relevance...

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