Seminar: Gina Gustavsson – National Identity and Trust
‘Does national identity boost trust? Exploring the links from national attachment, pride, and chauvinism to general, political, and inter-group trust’.
The national identity argument holds that a common national identity promotes trust and solidarity between citizens, and that it may therefore provide a common in-group identity that furthers cooperation between groups that are otherwise divided along ethnic, cultural, or economic divides. In this talk I will argue that this question is particularly relevant now by presenting some of the main insights from the edited volume I have recently published on this with David Miller (Liberal Nationalism and Its Critics: Normative and Empirical Questions, Oxford University Press, 2019). I will then zone in on the first part of the national identity argument: the link between national identity and trust. Previous research regarding this link, including my own, has focused either on how the national identity of the majority affects trust towards other members of the majority (cf. Gustavsson & Stendahl 2020), or on how the perceived national identity of the minority affects how they are viewed by the majority (cf. Banting et al. 2019).
In the specific paper I will present here, by contrast, my co-author Karen Breidahl (Aalborg University, Denmark) and I turn the question around. How, we ask, do the national attachment and national pride felt by members of immigrant minorities affect their trust of the non-immigrant majority? Moreover, is this a matter of sharing substantial values, or more a matter of sharing a common in-group identity independently of its more normative content? The empirical analysis draws on survey data collected in Denmark in 2014 as part of a representative sample of the Danish population and the five largest non-Western immigrant groups and their descendants in Denmark (Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq and ex-Yugoslavia) (Kongshøj 2015). Our preliminary results suggest that national pride and national belonging are positively linked to social trust among first and second generations of immigrants – in particular out-group trust towards native Danes. As regards commitment to values that are widely shared (liberal values) and prominent values in the public debate but not widely shared (national conservative) no direct link to social trust is identified.
Dr. Gina Gustavsson is an associate professor at the Department of Government, Uppsala University, and an associate member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Her research agenda combines political theory and political psychology, often with a special focus on contemporary political issues arising from immigration, diversity, and the normative question of how to handle life in a pluralistic liberal society. Her work has been published in Ethnicities, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Political Studies, The European Political Science Review, The Review of Politics, and The Cambridge Companion to Isaiah Berlin. Half-Swedish and half-Estonian, she has always had a keen interest in national identity and immigration. As a scholar, she is also very active in public engagement activities, see for example recent contributions to the debate on prevention measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic on the Guardian and the Washington Post.
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