International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

2H Cross-national, historical and contextual approaches to national identification and its consequen

(Session Organizer) Fenella Fleischmann, Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB); (Discussant) Anca Minescu, University of Limerick; (Chair) Fenella Fleischmann, Soci

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB)
Research Area: Intergroup relations

Ethnic and civic forms of citizenship are well-known, but might it be that in European countries a novel, cultural type of citizenship emerges? To what extent are majority members’ contemporary attitudes towards Muslim shaped by their nation’s history of religious tolerance? Is there evidence for a contextual effect of national identification on anti-immigrant attitudes? We believe these are important topics compelling interdisciplinary research, and the main goal of the proposed panel “Cross-national, historical and contextual approaches to national identification and its consequences for anti-immigrant attitudes and tolerance” is to make a start in answering these questions.
In the first paper, Reijerse (2011) presents cross-national evidence that cultural citizenship represents a distinct construct that can be measured in a reliable and valid way. Equally important, his data collected among high school students in six European countries reveal that cultural citizenship proves as a robust predictor of heightened levels of anti-immigrant attitudes, over and above the contributions by ‘ethnic’ and ‘civic’ citizenship. In the second paper, Smeekes, Verkuyten and Poppe (2011) employ a self-categorisation perspective to predict how a nation’s history of religious tolerance affects present-day attitudes towards Muslims. This research comprises of three survey studies conducted in the Netherlands - a particularly interesting research site for the formation of intergroup relations. Focusing on both moderating and mediating processes of their theoretical model, the empirical findings of Smeekes et al. (2011) underscore that national identification and perceived identity incompatibility are key for understanding the link from nations’ past to contemporary intergroup attitudes. In the third and final paper, Schlueter and Christ (2011) report results from their research on the national identification/anti-immigrant attitudes nexus among high-school students in Germany. Building on concepts from both a social identity approach and normative reference group theory, these authors find evidence that students’ anti-immigrant prejudice is not only affected by their individual-level national identification, but also by the average national identification at the school-level. Collectively, then, all these papers clearly stress the relevance of majority members’ national identification for different forms of intergroup attitudes.