Are Nationalists Better Citizens?
43 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 10, 2021
The recent rise in the popularity of nationalist movements tells us that more attention should be paid to the effects of national feeling on politics. This article considers the potential relationship between national identity and active and allegiant citizenship and particularly whether nationalists and patriots are better citizens than those who have weaker feelings towards their country. We analyze these relationships using data from the European Values Study in 2008 and 2017. Our main models control for a variety of political, social, and economic causes of good citizenship and include country fixed effects in addition to three measures of national feeling. Our findings indicate that civic national identity is connected with better citizenship on virtually all of our outcomes, whereas ethnic national identity is frequently connected with worse citizenship. We explain these results using social identity theory and theories of prejudice. The results suggest that politicians ignore or downplay national feeling at their peril.
Keywords: Nationalism, citizenship, patriotism, political participation, civil society
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