Introduction to the Special Issue Patriotism, Public Opinion, and National Defense in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden

Main Article Content

Linda Hart
Miina Kaarkoski
Teemu Tallberg


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.

Article Details

Front Matter
Author Biographies

Linda Hart, Finnish National Defense University

Linda Hart is a scholar of political and legal sociology. From 2018 to 2022 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher on a variety of projects in war studies and military sociology at the Finnish National Defense University in Helsinki. Prior to that appointment, Hart held positions at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Turku, Finland. She obtained her doctorate in 2016 from the University of Helsinki and she has published articles in Social Politics, European Societies, and Journal of Law and Society.

Miina Kaarkoski, Finnish National Defense University

Miina Kaarkoski is a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish National Defense University in Helsinki. Her research interests include defense and security politics, political decision making, and public opinion of national defense. She coedited Maanpuolustustahto suomessa (Willingness to Defend in Finland, 2020) with Teemu Häkkinen and Jouni Tilli. Currently, she is studying the influence of information on public opinion and agenda setting on social media.

Teemu Tallberg, Finnish National Defense University

Teemu Tallberg is professor in military sociology at the Finnish National Defense University in Helsinki. His research interests include conscription, the relationship between citizens and national defense, organization studies, national identity and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality in the armed forces. Prior to his professorship, Tallberg worked at University of Helsinki, Hanken School of Economics, and the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.