The anatomy of patriotism

  • Mitja Mitja Sardoč
Keywords: patriotism, citizenship, foundations of patriotism, critique of patriotism


Both historically and conceptually, patriotism has been one of the foundational characteristics that defines the very essence of one’s attachment, identification, and loyalty to a political
community and a basic virtue associated with citizenship as a political conception of the person. Despite its centrality in the pantheon of political ideals, patriotism remains a contested concept and an elusive virtue as well as a source of potential conflict and violence. In fact, the willingness to kill or die for one’s country has been traditionally viewed as the
most profound and genuine form of expression of patriotism. This paper examines some of the foundational elements associated with the discussion of patriotism. The introductory
part presents the “contextual” aspect of patriotism, and the ambivalence of contemporary discussions about it are examined. This paper is composed of five parts. The first and the second part examine the “standard” analysis of patriotism and its basic elements. The third part provides the identification of the fundamental motivating impulses most commonly associated with patriotism. The next part discusses the most important objections to patriotism as articulated by its many critics. The concluding part of this paper emphasises that patriotism is to be understood as a civic, moral, and epistemic phenomenon.