When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland

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In When Nationalism Began to Hate, Brian Porter offers a challenging new explanation for the emergence of xenophobic, authoritarian nationalism in Europe. He begins by examining the common assumption that nationalist movements by nature draw lines of inclusion and exclusion around social groups, establishing authority and hierarchy among "one's own" and antagonism towards "others." Porter argues instead that the penetration of communal hatred and social discipline into the rhetoric of nationalism must be explained, not merely assumed.

Porter focuses on nineteenth-century Poland, tracing the transformation of revolutionary patriotism into a violent anti-Semitic ideology. Instead of deterministically attributing this change to the "forces of modernization," Porter demonstrates that the language of hatred and discipline was central to the way "modernity" itself was perceived by fin-de-siècle intellectuals.

The book is based on a wide variety of sources, including political speeches and posters, newspaper articles and editorials, underground brochures, published and unpublished memoirs, personal letters, and nineteenth-century books on history, sociology, and politics. It embeds nationalism within a much broader framework, showing how the concept of "the nation" played a role in liberal, conservative, socialist, and populist thought.

When Nationalism Began to Hate is not only a detailed history of Polish nationalism but also an ambitious study of how the term "nation" functioned within the political imagination of "modernity." It will prove an important text for a wide range of students and researchers of European history and politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brian Porter is an eminent specialist in the history of Polish national consciousness. He has managed to objectively describe the complex genesis and the historical context of Polish nationalism. This work offers a new way of looking at the fundamental problem for all of Central and Eastern Europe." —Adam Michnik, Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw

"Brian Porter takes a fresh look at the complex relationship between modernity and nationalism. He convincingly questions the common view of a link between democracy and modernity, and, instead, demonstrates that authority is an aspect rather than a negation of popular politics. He also adds to the ongoing reassessment of the categories 'left' and 'right' by probing into the concrete historical roots of the Polish right of the turn of the century. An important contribution to the body of works on nationalism in general." —Maria Todorova, University of Florida

"Brian Porter has written an insightful and provocative account of the evolution of Polish nationalism in the nineteenth century. His impressive erudition and subtle perspective make this a compelling work of intellectual history, which will be of great interest to all scholars concerned with issues of national identity in modern Europe." —Larry Wolff, Boston College

"Brian Porter's highly innovative study sets new standards of excellence for the study of modern Polish nationalism. It elucidates the evolution of Polish thought from the era of Mickiewicz to the consolidation of the national democratic camp in the 1890s, and sheds light on the vexed and vital issue of relations between the Polish majority and various minority groups, among them Polish Jewry. This book will be required reading for students of Polish history in particular and nineteenth-century East European nationalism in general." —Ezra Mendelsohn, The Hebrew University

"Brian Porter's book is a first-class study of the idea of nation in the ideologies of the Polish intelligentsia from the Romantic Epoch to the emergence of integral nationalism. It shows the relevance of its subject for our understandings of some general problems of nationalism, identity formation, and modernity. Hence, it should attract the attention of a wide spectrum of scholars." —Andrzej Walicki, University of Notre Dame

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195131468
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Porter is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents

1. The Nation as Action
2. The Social Nation
3. The Struggle for Survival
4. The Return to Action
5. The Lud, the Naród, and Historical Time
6. Organization
7. The National Struggle
8. National Egoism
Selected Bibliography

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