Schemas of the Nation in Modern Democracies


Bonikowski, Bart. Working Paper. “Schemas of the Nation in Modern Democracies”.
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This study develops a novel analytical approach for studying popular conceptions of the nationstate that accounts for both within- and between-country heterogeneity and avoids a priori assumptions about the national boundedness of culture. I identify widely shared attitudinal patterns among a pooled sample of over 27,000 respondents from thirty countries and only subsequently examine those respondents’ national affiliations. Having established the robustness of the resulting four-fold typology of nationalist beliefs using multiple strategies, including out-of-sample replication, I relate these cultural schemas to the respondents’ political beliefs. The results reveal four characteristics of nationalism in settled times: 1) meanings attributed to the nation are far more heterogeneous than is suggested by existing theories; 2) the same four cultural schemas of the nation are found in all countries, though their relative prevalence varies; 3) the content—but not the distribution—of the schemas is stable over time; and 4) schemas of the nation are highly predictive of other political attitudes. The paper makes a substantive contribution to research on political culture and offers a general analytical approach for the comparative study of collective identification.

Last updated on 07/19/2016