|Abstract: ||The aim of the book is to present and discuss Polish discourse on the subject
of Polish identity in common and individual dimension.
The author is in favour of the sociologists and psychologists’ thesis who claim
that group identity is formed within the reference to common or even the same
elements as the individual identity. These are: isolating oneself from the others,
locating oneself in certain place being considered as own, noticing one’s lasting
in time that concerns notions about past, present and future times, and finally,
conducting autocharacteristic process i.e. describing oneself in account of one’s
The basis of analysis and conclusion is the material collected from the text of
private and autobiographical character: journals, diaries, memories that have all
been considered as sources illustrating the condition of popular identity and allowing
to reconstruct the category of popular discourse. The corpus of the texts
consists of the same number of sources from 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century.
Each chapter is devoted to the analysis of the national discourse categories
in the enumerated five time sections: identification, place, time, autostereotype.
When analyzing the listed issues the author uses the ethnolinguistic and cognitive
linguistics’ findings that she tries to use in culture description.
First chapter: Who are you? Identification consisting the analysis of the statements
on the subject of the distinguish of the group of Poles, its range, the individuals’
will to identify with it and problems concerning the necessity to contrast
Polish conceptions with foreign interpretations. In 16th and 17th century identifying
with “Polish Nobility” was connected with sharing by the individuals the
democratic values of Polish society. In 18th, 19th and 20th century problems connected
with the necessity to overcome the influence of the hegemonic leaders –
colonizers (invaders, partitioners) have been noticed.
Second chapter: Where do you live? Mental maps transformations concerning
the images of Poland and Polish people location in the world. When reconstruction
three variants of the map in each period (long-term and immediate plans)
the author shows the influence of one’s locating in the centre or in the suburbs
of the world or the consciousness of being noticed by the others towards the development
of Polish identity and the feeling of “being a Pole”. Problems resulting
from worse self-assessment and unsatisfying shape of the long-term plan have
been solved by means of the more intensive and on a large scale map drawing
up where Polish presence can be emphasized. Third chapter: What about your time? Conceptualizations of common time is
devoted to the reconstruction of the transformations of ideas concerning Polish
time. It can be conceptualized as linear or cyclical, as constant, teleological or as
disrupted continuum. The past seems to be interpreted in different ways: in mythological
or historical categories. The length of Polish times sections is changing
(the past, future and present) and the attention drawn to each of them. Polish
time from the genealogical, human perspective is also noticed differently. Source
continuity between the generations and the role of the individuals in shaping the
national fate is as well analyzed variously.
Fourth chapter: What are you like? Autostereotype is a reconstruction of
the attribitive characteristics whose description has been organized according
to the Polish ethnolinguistic method of the aspect description: psychological
and psychosocial, physical, cultural, living, economical, religious and ideological.
In comparison with the remaining categories, there has been noticed fewer
transformations of the autostereotype in the subsequent periods. The Polish unwaveringly
enumerate the same features characteristic to them. Its judgement,
however, changes that remains in close relation with the category of place, time
Transformations of the stressed categories in separate periods have occurred
simultaneously and they have motivated one another. Their development is
caused by the necessity of adjusting the community ideas about oneself towards
the changing historical circumstances and the main aim that is retaining of the
elementary feeling of the importance of one’s existence.|