To see ourselves as others see us: identity and attitudes towards immigration amongst civic nationalists

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This article examines how different conceptions of national identity can be linked to attitudes towards cultural pluralism. The tensions between more culturally pluralistic societies and sustained support for nationalism represent an important political issue in modern western European politics. Such tensions are of particular relevance for stateless nationalist and regionalist parties (SNRPs) for whom national/regional identity is a major political driver. This article empirically tests the relationship between different conceptions of national identity and attitudes towards cultural pluralism in two SNRPs—the Scottish National Party and the Frisian National Party. The article draws upon evidence from two unique full party membership studies and is supported with evidence from documentary analysis. A key finding is that the manner in which members conceptualise national identity has significant implications for their attitudes towards cultural pluralism, which has the potential of becoming a source of tension within SNRPs. A key implication of the article is that there is evidence that attitudes of general members and officially stated party positions and narratives diverge on issues relating to cultural pluralism and national identity. These tensions could potentially be harmful for the party's overall civic image.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1256
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studie
Issue number8
Early online date23 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Frisian national party, immigration, nationalism, Scottish national party, territory


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