You are on page 1of 5

Nikolaus Weingartmair

Intercultural Studies and Skills

7. cultural awareness paper

Patriotism in Austria and Poland


Cultural Awareness Paper Nikolaus Weingartmair 0755004
Interkulturelle Fertigkeiten Englisch (C1), 547.40E, Tracey Gagan-Donat, WS 2011/12

Nikolaus Weingartmair

Intercultural Studies and Skills

Introduction According to a study from University of Chicago, published in 2006, Austria is in the Top 5 Ranking for patriotism whereas Poland in the lower quartile. It is useful to begin by stating that patriotism in academic discussion is different from the everyday use of patriotism and national pride. This paper deals with the differences in the expression of patriotism, historical background for patriotism in both countries and the current definition of patriotism. In order to get a broader view to the topic first it is necessary to define patriotism. To begin, some concepts of patriotism as well as the separation from the term nationalism will be introduced. Secondly, this will be accompanied by a brief description of what shaped modern patriotism in these countries. Next similarities and differences will be pointed out. Definitions Dietz M. G. (1999) defines patriotism as the manifold complexities associated with love of country. Further he suggests that questions about and changes in civic virtue, loyalty, dissent, citizenship, obedience and liberty are connected with patriotism and are in addition signs for changing patriotism. With a focus on these aspects, it is possible to follow the changes of the abstract concept of patriotism. Another point to consider is that many authors do not reduce patriotism to the concept of a country or nation. Patriotism can also be defined as love and attachment of group members to their group and the land where they reside. Furthermore, there is another approach from Daniel Bar-Tal and Ervin Staub (1997). Their model of patriotism has four dimensions: psychological (having cognitive, affective and behavioural components); social (constructing foundations of union of individuals into groups); political (as a tool for organizing, mobilizing, and gaining the support of group members); and cultural and educational. For the purpose of this paper the discussion is limited to these approaches and a demarcation to nationalism. Also the terms patriotism and national pride are used interchangeably although in literature there is a distinction between those two concepts.
2

Nikolaus Weingartmair

Intercultural Studies and Skills

Nationalism on the other side is the idea of the superiority of one nation over the other. Kwame Anthony Appiah (1996) suggests that patriotism should be defined as feeling, whereas nationalism is rather to be perceived as an ideology. There is a need to discuss the relationship between nationalism and xenophobia, which results from an interlink between these two notions. However, this would go beyond the framework of this paper. This interlink between nationalism and intolerance and xenophopic ethnocentricity is best described by Walicki (1999), when he argues that in the vocabulary of politics the word nationalism is a derogative term, reserved for the manifestations of intolerant, xenophobic ethnocentricity. History Patriotism is not only an effect, it is also the cause for the creation of nations, therefore, it also has a function in a political context. Diane M. Duffy, John L. Sullivan and Leonard A. Polakiewicz (1993) enumerate four integrating forces for the Polish nation. One of these key forces is this abstract appeal to patriotism, which allowed citizens to identify with their country. It is useful to mention that this patriotism even existed when there was no Polish nation. These integrating forces are consistent with the model of patriotism from Daniel BarTal and Ervin Staub (1997). In contrast to this constant patriotism in Poland, the positive attitude of Austrians towards their country is a relatively new phenomenon. In the aftermath of World War II (WWII), in 1959 only 50 % of the Austrian population even believed that Austria was an independent state at all. Hofstede (1991) points out that a high amount of national pride is typical for young democracies. However in both countries, the level of national pride after the implementation of democracy was low. Schneider and Barron (2008) look at the connection between self-assurance and patriotism. Their findings show that although Austria is quite successful economically, it has no real source of self-assurance. Austrians show a rather low amount of self-assurance and tend to criticise their country in almost ritual ways. This is an attitude which was widespread, and also a dominant feature of Austrian literature, in the second half of 20 th century. The most significant factor for this behaviour is the defensive attitude to hegemonic structures of the Austrian state and attempts to deny the ugly involvement during the Nazi regime. It is
3

Nikolaus Weingartmair

Intercultural Studies and Skills

surprising that with this high insecurity and self-critical view Austria, is one of the countries with highest levels of national pride. Following Plasser and Ulram (1993) patriotism in Austria is closely linked to the re-erection of Austria after the end of World War II and its myth of the second republic. It serves as a means of demonstrative demarcation from Germany and as a defence against home-bred Germanic minded nationalism of the extreme right. Moreover, Austrian patriotism is rather quietist (Bruckmller, 1984) and reserved. Military parades, emphasising national glory and showing demonstrative pride are considered strange and archaic.

Conclusion: To sum up, what most of the theories concerning patriotism have in common is the notion of love toward a country or group in a broader sense. There are a lot of similar concepts and ideas, like national pride. However, it is very important to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. Patriotism is the positive feeling towards a country whereas nationalism is an ideology closely connected with xenophobia and superiority over others. It is useful to see patriotism not as something static. Instead, patriotism is always dynamic and with the focus on other concepts, like citizenship, the qualitative changes in patriotism can be discovered. Another important point to consider is that patriotism is not only an effect, patriotism itself can change societies. In the case of Poland, patriotism was one of the key factors leading to the Polish unification after WWII. In Austria, on the other side, patriotism plays an important role in delimitation against Germany and German oriented nationalism. To conclude, the differences between Austria and Poland in their approaches to patriotism can be partly described by their different historical developments. It however, is a result of manifold complexities. The before mentioned differences in history make it difficult to make a comparison between these countries.

Nikolaus Weingartmair Quellen:

Intercultural Studies and Skills

Bar-Tal, D. & Staub, E. (1997). Patriotism, In the lives of individuals and nations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers Bruckmller, E. (1984). Nation sterreich, Graz: Bhlau Dietz, M. G. (1989) Patriotism. In Ball T., Farr J. & Hanson R. L. (Eds.), Political innovation and conceptual change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Duffy, D. M., Sullivan, J. L. & Polakiewicz, L. A. (1993). Patriotic perspectives in contemporary Poland: conflict or consensus? The Polish Review 3 Haller, M. & Gruber (1996). Identitt und Nationalstolz der sterreicher: gesellschaftliche Ursachen und Funktionen, Herausbildung und Transformation seit 1945 : internationaler Vergleich. Wien: Bhlau Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organisations, London: MacGraw-Hill Kwame, A. A. (1996). Cosmopolitan Patriots. In Cohen, A. (Eds.), For Love of Country: Debating the Limits of Patriotism (21-29) Boston: Beacon Norman, D. (1984). Heart of Europe. A Short History of Poland,Oxford: Oxford University Press 1984 Plasser &Ulram (1994). S. 40 Schneider, K. P. & Barron A. (2008). Variational pragmatics: a focus on regional varieties in pluricentric languages. Philadelphia: John Benjamins North America Smith T. W. & Kim S. (2006) National Pride in Cross-national and Temporal Perspective. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 18, 127-136. Szeligowska, D. (2009). Dynamics of Polish Patriotism after 1989: Concepts, Debates and Identities. Draft prospectus Viroli, M. (1995). For love of country. An essay on patriotism and nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press Walicki, A. (1999). Intellectual elites and the vicissitudes of Imagined nation in Poland. In Suny, R. G. & Kennedy, M. D. (Eds.), Intellectuals and the articulation of the nation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 282