Ideas and Values as a Method of Constructing Symbolic Space of the National Identity

Pushkaryova G.V.,

Dr. Sci. (Polit. Sci.), Professor, Political Analysis Department, Faculty of Public Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University,

elibrary_id: 76897 | ORCID: 0000-0003-1567-5652 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAB-2181-2022

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.05.11

Rubric: Laboratory

For citation:

Pushkaryova G.V. Ideas and Values as a Method of Constructing Symbolic Space of the National Identity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 5. P. 156-173. (In Russ.).


The nation is seen as an “imaginary political community” [Anderson 2001] whose construction is carried out using symbols that form the national symbolic space. National identity is defined as a special kind of psychological connection of a person with a political nation that makes an individual sensitive to what concerns his state, his country. The main hypothesis of the study: if formation of a nation is the creation of symbolic forms in which the jointly created representations are embodied, then the national identity is formed in the process of interiorization of these symbolic forms, their reflection in the psyche of people. The paper distinguishes between two types of symbols: symbols-significators that perform a nominative function, and symbols-integrators (mythologems and ideologemes) that carry semantic interpretations of the image of the nation. It is shown that symbols-significators, unlike simple signs, can cause certain emotional states in which the individual’s sensate attitude to his nation is displayed. Symbols-integrators form a symbolic universe of the nation, i.e. a complex of structures that can be deployed in areas that are inaccessible to actual perception and that are beyond the immediate human experience. The significance of the symbolic universe for the formation of national identity is not only in its special role in constructing the image of a nation, a kind of collective We, but also in its inherent ability to recreate, actualize in the human psyche an emotional attitude to this image. The inevitability and contradictory nature of the renewal of the symbolic universe is substantiated. The conditions under which the symbolic universe is unable to maintain a unified system of representations, the image of the collective We are determined. It is shown that, as a result of the emergence of such conditions, the symbolic universe loses the function of forming a national identity. The special role of the state in maintaining the integrity of the national symbolic universe is revealed. The Russian symbolic universe is characterized as problematic, experiencing a period of heated discussions on issues of national self-determination; however, it has not lost its consolidating function. It is shown that the national identity of most Russians is formed through the interiorization of the symbols of statehood. 

ideas and values; national symbols; symbolic space; national identity; symbolic universe; symbol-significators; symbols-integrators; symbolic policy of the state.


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Content No. 5, 2017

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