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Rituals, Emotional Entrainment and National Identification

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A Cross-National Study around the European Football Championship

image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Although the effects of nationalized mega-events on national identification have been theorized and examined by a number of studies, little is known about the specific mechanisms that bring about changes in people’s attitudes towards their country. The authors hypothesize that during nationwide rituals, in particular sports mega-events, participants experience collective emotional entrainment in the context of national symbols and practices that in turn increases their identification with their nation. The authors present results of a naturalistic quasi-experimental study around the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship with participants from Germany, the United Kingdom, and Poland. Using a multidimensional measurement of national identification, the authors show that the experience of emotional entrainment is associated with changes in symbolic, civic, and solidary facets of identification in ways specific to the different national contexts.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Freie Universität BerlinGermany ; 2: Department of Sport and Motology, Philipps University of MarburgGermany ; 3: Department of Sociology, Freie Universität BerlinGermany ; 4: Department of Sociology, Freie Universität BerlinGermany


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