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Working paper

Grounded and Normative Dimensions of National Pride in Comparative Perspective

Sociology. WP BRP 62/SOC/2015, 2015
Fabrykant M., Magun V.
The objective of this paper is to describe cross-country similarities and differences in national pride and to explain national pride variations on the individual and country levels. The analysis in this paper is applied to different measures of national pride, with some of them being relatively complex cognitively and the others more elementary. The paper presents the results of cross-country comparison of national pride based on empirical evidence from the ISSP-2003 database which included data from 45993 respondents from 36 countries and regions. The survey participants estimated their overall level of national pride by responding to the direct one-item question and, separately, they estimated pride of each of ten specific achievements of their countries in various domains. Factor analysis of these ten items yielded two dimensions of domain-based national pride, one of them being the factor of general pride of various country achievements and the other reflects the inverse relations between the prides of elitist and mass achievements of the nation. The multilevel regression models estimated for the three indicators of national pride confirm the feasibility of dividing these indicators into cognitively processed and normatively imposed national pride. Cognitively processed national pride measured by the domain-based estimates have been affected by objective country achievements and by the level of standards which the achievements are compared against. The normatively imposed national pride measured by direct one-item question has been influenced by the country levelof religiosity that indicates the individual willingness to accept normative messages from the state uncritically. Rational national pride requires some objective grounds to believe in a nation’s perfection, and normative national pride is not so strongly related to objective achievements and therefore can be more easily manipulated. The practical implication of this difference stems from the fact that in their search for objectively grounded national pride people would be eager to foster country achievements and their maintenance of normatively imposed pride requires in many cases just reliably protected wishful thinking.