Is My Nation Cool Enough? National Identification in Difficult Economic Times.

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Does nationalism increases with economic crisis? This paper examines the impact that changes in the nation's economy and in individuals' economic situation have on people national attitudes. Borrowing from the social identity theory, the paper argues that people care about their individual status, and the status of the group with which they identify. In this way, when individuals’ economic status deteriorates, they become more strongly attached to an identity with a higher status: their national identity. Yet, when the status of the nation depreciates, they react weaken their identification with the national group.

 

To this end, the paper combines data from two monographic surveys of the International Social Survey Program (National identity 2003, and 2013) and a six-wave online panel study carried out in Spain between 2009 and 2014 to assess the impact that changes in the nation’s status and intra-individual changes in individuals’ economic status have on national attitudes: national pride, identification with the nation and Spanish nationalism. Results from the cross-country analysis show that national pride decreases when the economic status of the nation deteriorates what contradicts the diverting nationalism theory. Results from the panel analyses show that individuals’ changes in their economic situation are related to intraindividual changes in Spanish nationalism. Losses of income translate on a stronger Spanish nationalism but among on people with a stumpy level of it. It also shows that the individual perception of the economic status of the nation matters. When the individual economic assessment of the economy improves over time, the nation is perceived as a more desirable category of identification, leading to a reinforcement of their Spanish nationalism.