THE OWN AND THE FOREIGN IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
GLOBAL CONVERSATIONS: An International Journal in Contemporary Philosophy and Culture Volume I, Number 01 (2018): 117-126
According to Gal Ariely in the situation of globalization two opposite tendencies can be observed with respect to the feeling of national identity: increase and reduction of the sense of identity.1 We will try to trace the dynamics of the concept with the help of a psycholinguistic test conducted in different phases of Bulgaria’s transition to democracy since 1989. The concepts illustrating the findings are ‘foreigner’ and ‘motherland’ with a focus on the connotative meaning of the concepts on a subconscious level. During the first trial ‘foreigner’ evoked intensive positive reactions, whereas nowadays the attractiveness and the striving for contact with the foreigner decrease. The ‘foreigner’ is no longer representative of the West, but just a human, and could be emigrant or homeless. The personal experience in a situation of free mobility changes the viewpoint and the distance between the own and the foreign. During the first trial, the declarative affiliation to ‘motherland’ imposed by the totalitarian ideology was not reflected in the test results, most probably due to a reaction of resistance to its official propaganda. On the contrary – ‘motherland’ was associated with skeptical and even negative reactions. Our data also show moderate consolidation of these reactions on subconscious level during the last three decades, even as there have been constantly growing social criticism and radical attitude in our societies.2 It is important to note that in both phases of the test the main focus of the reactions has been contrary to the dominant social mood: in 1989, the young people expressed negative attitude to the officially advanced patriotism; nowadays, amid strong social critique of the state, the emotional reactions to it have become more positive. Indeed, it appears that when the concept of homeland is threatened, especially amidst of a widely felt deficit of values, the erosion of feelings does not penetrate at a deeper level.
Key words: identity, political attitude, semantic change, concept drift