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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Inter- And Intragenerational Cleavages in National Identity in Denmark

National Identity
Political Theory
Social Capital
Kristian Kongshøj
Aalborg Universitet
Kristian Kongshøj
Aalborg Universitet

Abstract: This paper uncovers inter- and intragenerational cleavages across three generations with regard to national identity. The theoretical point of departure is the literature about normative orientations towards national identity and ’community conceptions’. Empirically, the paper utilizes a new Danish survey from 2014 with 14 different normative statements about how policies and citizens should act and relate towards ethnic and cultural diversity, the political system, etc. These variables are employed in latent class analysis, a suitable method for uncovering latent groups of individuals as they combine different attitudes. These empirical positions are examined in their associations with indicators of social trust, solidarity via the welfare state, ”political culture”, as well as national pride and the perception of sharing values with other Danes (plus common socio-demographic variables). The latent class analysis uncovers qualitatively different forms of multiculturalism, conservative nationalism, liberal nationalism and republicanism across the three generations. Nationalism dominates among the older generation, while it only describes a small minority of the younger generation. Instead, multiculturalism characterizes the largest group here. The four types of community conceptions vary across generations in more than just quantitative terms, they are also expressed in different ways vis-a-vis their associations with the original 14 indicators, and how they are related to trust, solidarity, pride, and perceived shared values. For instance, as opposed to their older counterparts, young conservative nationalists are not significantly more proud, or perceive their values to more broadly shared than others within their generation. Instead, they are significantly less trusting and less solidaristic, which cannot be said of their older peers. Such variations indicate that national identity is informed by generational dynamics.
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