Components of national identities – A comparative sociological analysis

Mladen Lazic, Jelena Pesic


The article presents the results of an analysis of attitudes towards the importance of components of national identity – cultural, ascriptive and civic –based on data collected from a survey conducted in seventeen European countries.Differences in identity formation between countries with specific historical legacies(democratic traditions, dominant religious denomination, and ethnic composition)and structural characteristics (GDP per capita, level of urbanization, migration rate,and tertiary education attainment rate) are analysed, as well as the significance of different individual predictors (gender, age and university education). The main hypothesis, that modernization processes influence the strengthening of the civic component, as well as the weakening of ascriptive and cultural components, was confirmed. However, the results suggest that the modernizing effects of the examined factors (economic, cultural and political) are visible only up to a certain level of development, whereupon they tend to decrease their influence. The strongest influence on the strength of civic components is recorded for an economic factor – GDP per capita. Although civic components proved to be dominant in shaping the national identities across the examined countries, the other two traits – ascriptive and cultural – do not disappear, testifying to the still hybrid nature of national identity.


National identity, ascriptive/cultural/civic basis, modernization, comparative research

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X