Attitudes towards the Government’s Remembrance Policy in Poland: Results of an Experimental Study

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Abstract

The paper presents the results of an experimental study of Polish students’ attitudes towards their government’s remembrance policy (or, in other words, the intentional narration and interpretation of the past by the government). It includes four parts: a justification of why remembrance is a significant political asset in post-Communist Poland; a classification of remembrance policy instruments; a presentation of general results of the study; and a discussion of participants’ attitudes to particular policy instruments. In our assessment of the general results, we discuss three types of collected data: the results of the initial measurement of attitudes; the results of measurement after the manipulation of emotions (neutral vs. positive vs. negative) and commitment (no commitment vs. low commitment); and the results in terms of attitude change. In the section on attitudes to particular instruments, we compare participants’ support for different commemorative actions with their support for the governments’ dominant role in the popularising of remembrance narratives. The study’s results lead us to formulate three conclusions about the relationships between attitudes to the policy and Polish political culture.

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