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Creating a ‘We-feeling’ in Heterogeneous Nations: A Cross-country Investigation of the Impact of Inclusion and Autonomy on the National Pride of Ethnic Minorities

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

AbstractIn this contribution, we investigate the impact of different institutions on ethnic minorities’ political support. Based on a hierarchical cross-country comparison, we first show that individuals belonging to ethnic minorities have less national identity than the majority groups within the same country. We then test whether this negative effect of belonging to ethnic minorities can be attenuated by institutions. First, we argue that the inclusion of ethnic minorities by power-sharing institutions gives them the possibility to have a say in politics and, therefore, they develop a sense of common identity. Second, when minority groups are given the autonomy to preserve their group identity, e.g., in federal units, they develop positive feelings for the whole nation and finally a national identity. Our multilevel analyses show that autonomy indeed attenuates the negative effect of minority status on national pride, but that this is not the case for inclusive institutions. In light of increasing heterogeneisation of societies because of migration and denationalization, our findings contribute to the discussion on the relationship between growing ethnic pluralism and good functioning of democratic regimes.


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