Revitalizing the “civic” and “ethnic” distinction: Perceptions of nationhood across two dimensions, 44 countries and two decades

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This article describes how contemporary publics think about the nation along Kohn’s classic distinction between “civic” and “ethnic” nationalism. The article makes three contributes to the existing literature. Firstly, it introduces a new statistical tool, multi-classification-analysis, to establish and analyse the two-dimensional structure found in this and previous studies. Secondly, it derives at an alternative interpretation with a first dimension distinguishing the level of mobilization of nationalist attitudes and a second dimension distinguishing the relative emphasis given to civic and ethnic elements. Thirdly, it demonstrates how this setup can be used to describe differences within countries, across countries and across time using all three rounds of ISSP data on national identity. The descriptions demonstrate a move toward mobilized ethnic nationalism in Eastern Europe while a stable non-mobilised civic nationalism prevails in many West European countries; despite the rise of new-right wing parties.
TidsskriftNations and Nationalism
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)970-993
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • Nationalism, nation-perceptions, Hans Kohn, civic, ethnic, ISSP