Monday, 14 July 2014

The -ism Series (14 + 15): Patriotism + Nationalism

"Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."
George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is defined as positive feelings toward one's own group, nationalism as negative feelings toward other groups. In the 1980s, Feshbach et al. wondered if positive feelings toward one's own group automatically led to negative feelings toward others or if the two constructs differed in quality. A factor analysis revealed two relatively independent factors which the authors labelled patriotism and nationalism: Patriotism focused on feelings about one's own country (e.g. "I love my country.", "I am proud to be American."), nationalism on the feelings of and a need for national superiority (e.g. "In view of America's moral and material superiority, it is only right that we should have the biggest say in deciding UN policy.", "Other countries should try to make their governments as much like ours as possible."). Their findings also suggest that nationalism is associated more strongly with a competitive (and militaristic) approach to the world while patriotism shows a more cooperative (and peaceful) approach. The results show parallels to Adorno et al.'s differentiation between the "healthy patriotic love of one's own country" that is not associated with prejudice against others and "ethnocentric patriotism" which is associated with prejudice and resembles Feshbach's nationalism (Druckman, 1994).

Duckitt points out that ethnocentric patriotism is associated with insecure group identification, i.e., the more insecure individuals feel in the groups they belong to, the more unhealthy their relationship to others and the stronger their need to distance their groups from others. This notion challenges the assumption that ingroup and outgroup attitudes are completely independent and not related to each other. Other authors define nationalism as a more complex form of patriotism  (Druckman, 1994). While former studies used to see nationalism as a continuum of intensiveness, younger studies rather distinguish on the basis of quality, i.e., aim to identify different types of nationalism. Staub differs between blind and constructive patriotism, Westle between traditional nationalism, democratic patriotism and postnationalism, Knudsen between national chauvinism and system legitimacy, Hjerm between ethnic, civic and pluralist national identities, Blank & Schmidt distinguish ethnic nationalism from democratic patriotism - just to mention a few concepts (Blank et al, 2001).

Nationalism is xenophobic. It concentrates on minorities and immigrants and in a certain way is a latent mechanism of boundary maintenance. It is characterised by blind support for the nation and correlates positively with the derogation of "others". Cohrs argues that patriotism per se is neither good nor bad and that its consequences depend on the values and norms. There is still the question whether it is really possible to have positive patriotic feelings withouth having nationalistic sentiments. Scholars are still working on a theoretical and empirical distinction between the two constructs nationalism and patriotism (Latcheva, 2010).

"There is no way like the American Way": People in Louisville, Kentucky, queuing for food and clothing in front of a relief station during the Great Ohio River Flood in 1937

- Blank, T., Schmidt, P. & Westle, B. (2001). "Patriotism" - A Contradiction, a Possibility or an Empirical Reality? Paper to be presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops. "ECPR Workshop 26: National Identity in Europe", 6-11 April, 2001, Grenoble (France).
- Druckman, D. (1994). Nationalism, Patriotism, and Group Loyalty: A Social Psychological Perspective. Mershon International Studies Review, 38(1), 43-68.
- Latcheva, R. (2010). Nationalism versus patriotism, or the floating border? National identification and ethnic exclusion in post-communist Bulgaria. Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, 1(2), 187-215.
- photos via and via and via and via


  1. So interesting!

    1. Happy to hear that. Many thanks, Kenneth.

  2. Replies
    1. Many thanks for reading and commenting, Karen!

  3. BIG THANKS. Such interesting findings.

  4. Again, thank you so much for your quality postings.

    1. Abbie Winterburn14 July 2014 at 09:52


    2. You have no idea how much I appreciate having such quality followers. Thank you, Macy, thank you, Abbie.