Smells Of The Homeland Or Patriotic Texts Through The Prism Of Psychosemiotics


The article considers patriotism as a hypertext of national self-consciousness, as an image of one’s place in the world in which one must not only get one's bearings, live, be needed, happy but also build one's future as a member of the sociocultural community. Like all social feelings, patriotism is brought up. With different nations and individuals, it may even be lacking due to historical and cultural conditioning. However, “self-construction” and “self-creation” cannot go past such vectors of human existence, without which one cannot become a member of the community having one's feet firmly on the ground. These are birth, conscription, marriage, professional self-determination, death. All these events form the span of human life, which can neither be cancelled nor changed. Nevertheless, one is able to determine oneself, take a stance on it in order to be formed as a person and as a civilian. Patriotism will not be understood in its phenomenality if researchers lose sight of the signs-images, forming it. Those are texts which are intended to cause an understanding and interpretation of the relationship towards oneself, the relationship to another person and the expected relationship of that other. In the process of life, the body of patriotic feelings lives, develops, breathes. Breath is always listening to the smells of the land, the smells of the Homeland.



An important attribute that makes a nation is national identity. National identity implies knowledge of the language, ethnic memory, knowledge and respect for national customs and traditions, a sense of national dignity. Patriotism is a complex feeling. Like everything complex, it is formed of the individual components of feelings-emotions, shaping them into a single patriotic spirit. What does the feeling of patriotism consist of? There are five vector events taking place in human life, without which one cannot become a member of a community firmly standing on the ground. These are birth, conscription, marriage, professional self-determination, death. All these events form the span of human life that can neither be cancelled nor changed. However, one can determine oneself, take a stance on it and thus be formed as a person as well as a civilian.

Problem Statement

The problem is to find texts that focus on the meanings of patriotism.

Research Questions

Life events related to the homeland, which emit emotions that crystallize into feelings of national-patriotic mentality.

Purpose of the Study

Description of iconic texts through which vector events of the human life form patriotic feelings-images.

Research Methods

The semiotic method, the foundations of which were laid by Peirce, de Saussure, representatives of the Moscow and Prague linguistic circles, was further developed in the writings of the proponents of Yuri Lotman’s Tartu School of Science. The semiotic method is associated with modelling of research objects as sign systems. This very method forms the semiotic "picture of the world (world view/picture)" with its individual causality. This causality is a method of semiotic analysis of reality. When it comes to disciplines basically operating on qualities, rather than quantities, which have individual situations, cases, and texts as their objectives like special phenomena semiotics comes into play. “We are talking about the forms of knowledge, in their logical limit approaching dumbnessin the sense that their rules, as we have said, are not subject to formalization and even verbal presentation. It is impossible to learn the profession of a connoisseur or a diagnostician, limiting oneself to the practical application of the rules acquired in advance. In cognition of this type, the elusive elements (as is said) are decisive: instinct, keen eye, intuition. <...>This “lower intuition” is rooted in sensory perceptions (although it distances itself from them) and therefore has nothing to do with the supersensible intuition of the various irrationalisms of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is spread all over the world and knows no geographical, historical, ethnic, gender and class barriers – because of this, it is infinitely far from any form of higher knowledge, the privileged heritage of the few chosen ones. It is the property of <...> hunters; property of sailors; property of women. It closely connects the human animal with other species of the animal world” (Ginzburg, 2004, p. 226). Semiotic thinking operates here. In terms of the transfer of experience, semiotics refers to texts. In Yuri Lotman's works text is considered not only as a passive transmitter of information but also as its generator. The text is an active participant in the dynamic system: the author – the text – the audience, the link with the "wide cultural contexts" (Lotman, 1992: 130).


Birth . Obviously, first of all, this is the territory of the language through which a child becomes a member of society. It is the national language that is one of the most important signs of a nation. It is a nationwide spoken language that is understandable to all members of the nation and a single literary language. A literary language is being formed simultaneously with the formation of a nation. Language through grammatical constructs (Sepir, 1993) forms the national character, temperament, mores, in other words, the psychological commonality of a nation speaking the same language. This is the form of existence of folk culture: folklore, customs, traditions. Linguistic, widercommunicative consciousness is formed in a person in the process of language acquisition and improves throughout their life, as they replenish their knowledge of rules and language norms, new words, meanings, as communication skills in various fields improve, and new languages are mastered. The communicative consciousness also includes information about foreign languages – one's attitude to them, their assessment, the impression of the degree of their difficulty, knowledge of the communicative behavior of speakers of these languages. However, for national identity, such activity as interpretation is important: into what language the text is translated in order to be understandable. As it was asked in the questionnaire previously: "What language do you think in?"

Marriage . Family and marriage are the inventions of the human imagination. Forms of marriage are diverse. Therefore, it is impossible to talk about "naturalness" of this artificial institution, which each time is rethought by a person anew following ethics, moral and political ideas. Even within the framework of one national culture, there are many different types of marriage: marriage as a business partnership, as a "children's home", "political" marriage and a "slave marriage" when a man marries a woman to use her as a free servant. It also happens the other way round: the wife disposes of her husband, perceiving him exclusively as labour force, a breadwinner. However, marriage ceremonies of all nations are associated with religious rituals. The wedding ceremony is inferior in splendour only to the ceremonies of burial and baptism. Marriage consolidates social habits, customs, traditions, and prejudices. In view of this, the family is also called the "cell" of society. The family is dominated by the same archetypes that dominate society. An example:

  • Let me, however, ask you: why do you all call them “Kolka” and “Natashka”?

  • And this is in Tatar. They call every adult Russian Ivan, and the woman Natasha, and they call the boys Kolka, and the same holds true for my wives even though they were Tatars, but for me they were all Russian and were called Natashka, and the boys were Kolka. However, all this, of course, is only superficial, because they were without all the church sacraments, and I did not consider them my children.

  • Why didn’t you regard them as yours? Why is it so?

  • But why would I consider them mine if they were neither baptized, nor anointed.

  • And your parental feelings?

  • What do you mean, sir?

  • But really, didn’t you love these children at all and never caressed them?

  • But how to caress them? Of course, if it happened, when I was sitting by myself, and someone ran up, well, I'd just pat their head, stroke them and say: “Go to your mother”, but this rarely happened, because I didn’t care.

  • But why didn't you care: did you really have a lot to do?

  • Nope; nothing much, but I had a yearning: I really wanted to go home to Russia. ”

  • (Leskov, 1973, par. 7)

Death . A person must think about it, leaving his loved ones on the earth. Life goes on after the last breath. A cemetery is not a collection of individual monuments. However, a huge mysterious world and any touch to it reveals many interconnected levels of its being: religious, mystical, moral, cultural, and so on. Jews from all over the world in different countries have been saving money all their lives in order to "rise" to Jerusalem and die there in old age. General Denikin, who had been in exile since 1920, bequeathed to be buried in Russia before his death. In 2000, the ashes of Ivan Sergeyevich Shmelev and his wife were reburied in the cemetery of the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow in fulfilment of the last will of the writer, who had died 50 years before in France and was buried in the cemetery of Saint-Genevieve-des-Bois. The remains of other worthy Russian citizens are returning to their native land. Nobody needs them abroad, and their graves are overgrown with grass. At home, they are also a means of patriotic education as a "call of the ancestors."

Conscription . Love for the homeland is a willingness to defend its independence, help fellow countrymen, even when one is outside the homeland. This is complicity in the preservation of territories, way of life, religion. Conscious complicity is always involved in the historical process, historical mythology, pride in the affairs of ancestors, reverence for oneself as a successor of national valour, conquests, and breakthroughs. Karl Jaspers (1991) wrote that “all nations are divided into those whose formation was based on the world that arose as a result of the breakthrough, and those who remained aloof. The former are historical peoples, the latter are primitive peoples” (p. 98). The military alliance assumed a break with the previous family (community) and the formation of a new family based on a military fraternity, which later found expression in such military associations as prince squads, chivalry orders, Cossack villages, robber freemen. At the heart of military alliances is an archetype of the ancient tribal form of a society of the Eastern Slavs. It is no coincidence that in most military unions, group members are in ritual kinship. “The combat artel is one of the most archaic forms of the East Slavic military unions. It is close to its prototype – the Slavic tribal squad and survived in the villages until the middle of the 20th century. Strengthening and growth of the artel military structure almost always occurred against the background of a temporary weakening of state power during periods of “troubled times”, replacing to some extent weakened state structures. Artel brotherhoods contributed to the preservation of the country's total military capabilities, which is one of the factors that preserve the integrity and nature of Russia” (Maximov, 2011). Ideological battles and real fights took place at a congress of school historians during the perestroika period in Russia, where the problems of covering historical events in school books were discussed. At that time, Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk and Yuriev (Nechaev), who was invited as a “mediator,” acted as a peacemaker.

Profession as self-determination in society . Interestingly, as Vladimir Propp noted, “most often the witchcraft rites of initiationthe initiation of young men into huntersis not only a test of their “readiness” for work, but also familiarization with the mythological ritethe main sacrament of the tribe” (it is worth noting that , old men of the tribe kept many legends prohibited from the uninitiated). Along with collective ritual forms, an important role was played by individual forms (conspiracies, charms) as “elements of the verbal accompaniment of a pagan in cantatory, magical rite”; implementation of all elements of the procedure was mandatory (Propp, 2019, p. 315). The point of all this is to fosterrespect for work. A profession is always a socially useful activity through which the subject participates in the life of society. Through professional development, a change in the value attitude to oneself as a representative of the profession and as a member of the community takes place. Working together people exchange not only thingsbut also feelings of their importance, the dignity of being a member of a social and professional group, a sense of elitism. By self-determination through the acquisition of “the true meanings of one’s labour activity in the context of building a full and dignified life, which involves not only obtaining “benefits” from the professional activity performed but also touching the highest ideals of creativity, justice and dignity, as well as the opportunity to “continue in other people” (Pryazhnikov, 2010, p. 6), thus a person makes up for his finiteness. Striving for love, people want to endow the world with their feelings, abilities, and talents. However, they also want to get mutual love, that is, someone who endows them with the best they have. A real (and not just a fantasy) opportunity to endow the world with your talents is work. Many prominent representatives of the human race understood this and since some point in their lives began to realize their best impulses through creativity (psychoanalysts call this sublimation). Feedback arose when the state attributed the success of its citizens to the national system of upbringing and education. Pride "for one's own" is an integral feature of patriotism.


We do not know in what context the Irish writer, playwright Bernard Shaw expressed the idea that "patriotism is a destructive, psychopathic form of idiocy." The dictum itself suggests that such a moral property of a person as patriotism is not inherent in all people. The feeling of belonging to one’s nation, one’s homeland, its past and present, the dreams of the prosperity of one’s country and the desire to do everything for this is the result of self-awareness and self-development of a human being. The word "homeland" itself resembles the taste of icy water from a spring well.

Letter-by-word decoding of this feeling-concept expresses the meaning of the word in a concentrated form: "Patriotism is the Passion for serving one's country, Altruism, Toil, Rejoicing, Ideology, Optimism, Talent, (National) Identity, Solidarity, and (National-Patriotic) Mentality."

Patriotism is a sense of solidarity with those who have arranged the environment in which they have to live, work and die. In the process of discussing the article, disputes arose, as a rule, concerning the attitude to the feeling of patriotism. The problem was designated as the significance of this feeling-image in the structure of the personality. Can a “national orphan” become a full member of the modern community? This question is the subject of the next study.


  1. Ginzburg, С. (2004). Myths-emblems-omens: Morphology and history. Collection of articles (Trans. with it. and afterword by C. L. Kozlov). New publ. house.
  2. Jaspers, K. (1991). The origins of history and its purpose (iss. 1). INION.
  3. Leskov, N. (1973). Enchanted wanderer. In N. Leskov (Ed.), Lead. Stories. Artistic literature.
  4. Lotman, Y. M. (1992). Selected articles (vol. 1) (pp. 129–132). Tallinn.
  5. Maximov, S. G. (2011). Russian military traditions.
  6. Propp, V. Ya. (2019). Morphology of a fairy tale.Historical roots of a fairy tale. Publ. house Nobel Press.
  7. Pryazhnikov, N. S. (2010). Psychological meaning of labor: textbook (3rd ed., corrected and supplemented). Moscow: Publ. house of the Moscow psychosocial Institute; Modek Publ. house.
  8. Sepir, E. (1993). Selected works on linguistics and cultural studies. Progress.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

27 February 2021

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

Cite this article as:

Nikitina, E. S. (2021). Smells Of The Homeland Or Patriotic Texts Through The Prism Of Psychosemiotics. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 678-683). European Publisher.