The Localization of Territorial Identity: Citizen Attachment in an Era of Globalization

41 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jefferey Sellers

Jefferey Sellers

University of Southern California

Anders Lidström

Umea University

Date Written: 2012


One of the least understood dimensions of the recent transformations in the territorial relations of advanced industrial democracies and many transitional countries has been the consequences for territorial identity among ordinary citizens. In this paper, we investigate recent shifts in territorial identity throughout advanced industrial societies and a selection of transitional ones, and examine how they are connected to power, institutions and economic and social patterns at multiple scales. We employ data from both the World Values Survey and the International Social Survey Program over 1981-2003 in a total of 33 countries. The analysis demonstrates significant shifts toward stronger territorial attachment at the local rather than at the supranational or the national level. Despite globalization in institutions, the economy and society, internationalized identity generally declined. Identification with one’s town or city, and to a lesser degree with one’s region, grew significantly. Multilevel analyses show this shift to be linked to decentralization of authority, to the unevenness of economic and social globalization and to European integration.

Keywords: Globalization, national identity, decentralization, urban politics

Suggested Citation

Sellers, Jefferey and Lidström, Anders, The Localization of Territorial Identity: Citizen Attachment in an Era of Globalization (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Jefferey Sellers (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Anders Lidström

Umea University ( email )

Samhallsvetarhuset, Plan 2
Umea University
Umeå, SE 901 87

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