A Cultural History of Catholic Nationalism in Slovakia, 1985-1993
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
I would like to embargo my thesis for 18 months.
Reason for embargo
I plan to publish papers from my thesis.
This thesis is about the construction of a nationalised public Catholic culture in Slovakia from 1985 to 1993. At the core of this culture was the assumption that the Catholic Church had always been an integral part of the Slovak nation, her past, her present and her future. The thesis seeks to answer the question of who created this culture during the 1980s and 1990s and how and why they did so. To answer these questions this thesis adopts a cultural approach and explores how this culture was created utilising the concepts of collective memory, symbols and events as its main analytical tools. The data for this analysis include, but are not restricted to, materials produced in relation to various commemorative events and pilgrimages, especially those related to the leading national Catholic symbols: the National Patroness Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows and Saints Cyril and Methodius. The thesis argues that this culture was deliberately constructed from the point of view of many actors. Before 1989 these included the official Catholic hierarchy, underground Catholic Church communities, the pope and nationalist Communists. After 1989 these actors continued to construct this culture even as their positions of power changed. Most notably, underground Catholics became part of current ecclesiastical and political elite, and communist nationalists dissociated themselves from the Communist Party but retained their position within the cultural and political elite. The thesis consists of three chapters. The first chapter looks at how the nationalised public Catholic culture started in the mid-1980s with underground Catholic communities that focused on culture and grassroots mobilisation. The second chapter looks at how the nationalist Communists and the official church hierarchy became involved in construction of parts of this culture and how their involvement resonated with the underground Catholic communities. Chapter Three examines how this culture continued to develop in the early 1990s in a new political context, and how it contributed to a broader cultural legitimisation of Slovak independence.
PhD in History