Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - The anti-hero in symbolic spaces

Background and Problem. The issue of the presence of a hero, who was actually an anti-hero, in the symbolic space of the Polish People’s Republic (PPR), has been described from the perspective of the sociology of culture and cultural anthropology, the history of the last century and semiology (symbolism). The study concerns Gen. Karol Swierczewski.
Material and Method. A content analysis of literature and a broad thematic discourse [Krippendorf 2004] of resources and studies were the methods used. Iconographic material and visual sociology were also used.
Results and Conclusion. During the time of the PPR the myth of Gen. Swierczewski and a few others like him was created in place of the chivalric and libertarian ethos Polish patriots were replaced by an internationalist combatant. Up to 1988 or 1989, i.e. until the end of the PPR, Swierczewski was present in the country’s symbolic spaces, in different institutions and in small graphic forms (banknotes, postage stamps), etc. Then followed the process of the disappearance of the name and the person. Preserved artefacts illustrate this particular situation where, in the new political reality imposed by force a traitor to the country and the nation, is put on a pedestal, as a hero.