The mobilisation of identities: a study on the relationship between elite rhetoric and public opinion on national identity in developed democracies

Helbling, Marc ; Reeskens, Tim ; Wright, Matthew

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Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2016
The title of a journal, publication series: Nations and Nationalism
Volume: 22
Issue number: 4
Page range: 744-767
Place of publication: Oxford
Publishing house: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1354-5078 , 1469-8129
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Soziologie mit Schwerpunkt Migration u. Integration (Helbling 2020-)
Subject: 320 Political science
Abstract: Over the last decade, the topic of national‐identity has gained considerable importance after various heads of states have made it an important political issue in the context of ongoing globalisation and European integration processes. There is also a large, mainly historical literature that has emphasised the role of the political elite in the formation of national‐identities. While this argument is widely discussed in both public and academic debates, there is, surprisingly, hardly any empirical research on this issue. We do not know whether elite positions resonate with how the masses think about these issues. We therefore set out to test this relationship by combining the 2003 wave of the International Social Survey Programme and content analysis of elite mobilisation rhetoric from the Comparative Manifesto Project. Results indicate that an overlap exists between politicians' articulation of exclusive notions about the contours of national‐identity and heightened expressions of civic and ethnic national‐identity within public opinion. By contrast, elite mobilisation along more inclusive lines appears ineffective. From this, it appears that exclusionary arguments play a more important role, at least in terms of attitudes about national‐identity, than inclusionary ones.

Dieser Datensatz wurde nicht während einer Tätigkeit an der Universität Mannheim veröffentlicht, dies ist eine Externe Publikation.

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