Political Symbolism of Slovakia: Between the Cross and European Star
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Focusing on political symbolism, the authoress analyses how the representation of Slovakia and its citizens is constructed in both national and international contexts. The images of country, nation, or state as well as various forms of their symbolic representation are created mainly by so-called 'cultural elites'. The aim of this study is to identify the maintenance of and ruptures in the construction of self-images and stereotypes in the realms of political memory and mythology. She identifies major trends, such as the effort to 'people' Slovak history with hero-martyrs and the constant prevalence of self-critical approaches to Slovak national identity building. In historical accounts, Slovaks have usually been characterised according to their plebeian origins and embedded 'Christian-Catholic' traditions and values. Successful reconstruction of political memory has been accomplished through organised collective remembering and forgetting. Within these processes, Slovaks attempt to redefine their national identity by manifesting the symbolic representation of their state in the form of official state symbols (sign, flag, or anthem); and by establishing state holidays and memorial days that manage, in a concentrated ritual way, to express the basic political values of the official regime. This study discusses the dominant topics of public discourse in the process of selecting and establishing holidays and official state symbols. The centre of these controversial interpretations lies in symbols and the parties involved in public discourse, which organise a ritualised defence of their positions through manifestations, meetings, petitions, open letters, and strikes.
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