MULTIVOCALITY OF CROSS IN POLISH SOCIETY PRACTICES The Dances around the Cross: A Semiostructural Analysis of Performances during the Demonstrations at the President’s Palace
Grzegorz Kapuściński 1 1 - MAeS 2012; 13 (1): ICID: 1093896 Article type: Original article IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
The cross is a symbol that has accompanied humankind for centuries and, at the same time, remains a core symbol of Christianity. As such, it constitutes an element belonging to the mainstream of European culture. A powerful symbol, it becomes an axis for the transformation of codes and value systems, a place of “cultural work”, changes and adaptations of culture. All of the above were evidenced in the events that took place around the cross at the President’s Palace on Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street, Warsaw, in the spring and summer of 2010. These events inspired some significant behaviours, with the cross at their core, both in terms of real spatial distribution and the symbolic order – the interpretation and reinterpretation of a sign. All parties involved in the conflict voiced theiropinions, appealing to the layers of meaning conveyed around the symbol of the cross, thus making it the centre of rivalling communication, “playing” it, conveying their ideological and axiological programme. Demonstrative, ritualistic, even carnival behaviours, rituals, gestures, organizing and appropriating the space around the cross, its moving and multiplying etc. constitute a dialogue of Polish cultures. Both the “defenders” of the cross (or regarding themselves as such) putting lives and health at stake, and the “blasphemous” making of a cross out of beer cans, place the sign at the centre of their enunciations. The cross is used instrumentally, subject to desecration, and reinvented in political and many other terms. These behaviours may be regarded in compliance with the rules of semiotics, as symbolic texts, which convey a meaning, and communicate. The subject of the text is the analysis of these behaviours, their reading in the context of symbolic structures, which lie at their roots, and which may be recreated and named at their basis. It constitutes a point of origin for an attempt at generalizations pertaining to symbolic systems of diverse groups of Polish society, with respect to tradition, both historic and religious.