Gina Gustavsson, Department of Government, Uppsala University:
National identity, a blessing or a curse? National attachment, pride, and chauvinism, and their links to trust and solidarity
In the face of increasing political division and eroding trust, proponents of liberal nationalism argue that feelings of national attachment constitute an important source of solidarity and trust (cf. Kymlicka 2016; Miller 1995; Tamir 2019). But do national identities really provide such support for social justice and trust? Or are they rather sources of division, creating hostility to minority groups and those outside, especially immigrants, and distrust in politicians considered as ‘multiculturalist elites’? I argue that both are true, since the attitudinal consequences of national identity depend very much on which of its dimensions we study: e.g. whether we measure nationalistic chauvinism, pride, or identification with co-patriots. In this talk, I will summarize my own research on this topic, and also bring in the main insights from a forthcoming volume edited by myself and David Miller, Liberal Nationalism and Its Critics: Normative and Empirical Questions (Oxford University Press, Dec. 2019). This book brings together leading experts in the fields of philosophy, political theory, political science and psychology, asking what we know about the nature and effects of national identities.