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Liberal national identity: thinner than conservative, thicker than civic – but in terms of what?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2015 (English)In: ECPR Joint Sessions, Warsaw, April 2015. Workshop: The Civic Turn in European Immigrant Integration Policies, Colchester: European Consortium for Political Research , 2015, -16 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contemporary European policies and discourses regarding immigration and citizenship seem to be increasingly oriented towards strengthening the national identity. The typologies and analytical frameworks typically used to make sense of these trends, however, are in dire need of further elaboration. The goal of this paper is to help in this endeavour. The pre-dominant analytical approach for a long time has been to separate between ‘civic’ and ’ethnic’ national identities, and to assume that the more liberal and universalistic their content, the less nationalistic they are per definition, and vice versa. A great deal of recent research has suggested we need to go beyond these dichotomies, however – both because they are theoretically too crude, and because they hamper rather than help us in understanding the trend of purportedly universal liberal values being invoked as the very basis for exclusive, particularistic national identities after all (cf. Mouritsen & Olsen 2013). The most recent solution suggested by previous research is to leave the content of national identities aside altogether, and instead focus entirely on whether the boundaries of a given national identity are constructed in a voluntaristic or a deterministic way (Kriegbaum Jensen, 2014; Laegaard, 2007; Zimmer, 2003). In contrast, while this paper agrees with the need to go beyond the civic-ethnic and liberal-nationalist dichotomies, it offers an alternative solution to the problem. Instead of discarding ideal types like civic or ethnic nationalism as analytical categories altogether, I propose they can be further nuanced, by bringing in the literature in political theory that differentiates between ‘conservative nationalism’, ‘liberal nationalism’ and ‘civic patriotism’. These ideal types, I argue, can be spelled out along five different dimensions – and a number of additional policy dimensions – that the theoretical literature has failed to specify. Doing so allows us to create an analytical tool that is likely to help future research analyze and assess contemporary national identity trends in a way that connects the discussion to normative theory, especially regarding the recent empirical cases where liberal values are presented in a nationalistic way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Colchester: European Consortium for Political Research , 2015. -16 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-248707OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-248707DiVA: diva2:800793
ECPR Joint Sessions, Warsaw, March 30th-April 2nd 2015
Liberal Nationalism in the Welfare State: Bridging the Gap Between Political Theory and Political Psychology on National Identity and Economic Solidarity
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-04-07 Last updated: 2015-08-13Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, Gina
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Department of Government
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