Introduction to the Special Issue Patriotism, Public Opinion, and National Defense in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
Main Article Content
How do political communities stick together as polities in times of crisis? What is needed to motivate their citizens work together to deter threats, maintain state monopolies of violence, and sustain different forms of military alliances and cooperation? The answer, in large part, is patriotism. Patriotic thinking—both as a sentiment and as an element of political ideology—is a central tenet in building states and conducting state affairs. From the perspective of political philosophy, patriotism is often characterized as love for one’s country and as an affective relationship imbued with such emotions as pride, honor, and appreciation for the collective that it represents. Scholars from the tradition of republican patriotism argue that such love may be directed toward political institutions and that it helps form a way of life that sustains the liberty of a state’s population. This stands in contrast to nationalism, which regards the
same object of veneration, the homeland, with less tolerance of heterogeneity and political disunion. Both patriotism and nationalism are conceptualized in a variety of ways and can take on meanings as varied as benign civic unity and exclusionary chauvinism. Patriotism is often conceptualized as a form of civic virtue, stressing the way it prioritizes the community ahead of the individual.