This book by Madalena Meyer Resende addresses an important and often under-discussed topic – the evolution of state nationalisms in the context of transitions from authoritarianism to democracy. It compares two cases, Poland and Spain, where the outcome of these processes of transformation differed.
In contrast, in Poland, the Catholic Church was often persecuted under the communist regime. Therefore, during the transition to democracy, the Polish Church did not seek detachment from politics but instead pursued active involvement to advance its ultimate interests and ideological goals. This led to a politicisation of the traditional National Catholic ideology and the formation of a conservative, ‘introverted’ nationalist political pole that has driven an often sceptical attitude towards European integration, in competition with the ‘extroverted’ liberals.
The book is divided into six parts.
- Chapter 1 focuses on ‘Nationalism and Catholicism: concepts and processes’. It presents an innovative conceptual distinction between introverted and extroverted nationalism. The typology, which the author wisely distinguishes from the ethnic nationalism-civic nationalism opposition, does not refer to the internal conception of a nation advanced by a specific nationalism but, rather, to its external relations – how it relates to other nations and the sharing of sovereignty both via supranational integration and multinational federalism.
- Chapter 2 deals with the authoritarian period (‘National Catholicism and the church under authoritarian regimes’).
- Chapter 3 analyses the transition to democracy (‘The church political strategies during the transition’).
- Chapter 4 elaborates on the re-alignment of parties in the right-wing spectrum (‘The impact of church strategies on party system consolidation and survival of National Catholicism’) and
- Chapter 5 deals with the formulation of national discourses by conservative forces (‘The outcome: the reformulation of the nationalist discourses in Spain and Poland’).
- Chapter 6 constitutes the ‘Conclusion’.
Madalena Meyer Resende is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the New University of Lisbon.
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