Trusting Diversity: nationalist and multiculturalist orientations affect generalised trust through ethnic in‐group and out‐group trust

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Abstract

One premise of popular nationalism is that ascribing to a shared culture that enjoys a privileged political status enables us to construct the foundation that is vital to generating and supporting trust among members of the ethnic majority. Multiculturalism presumes that the accommodation of new minority cultures is conducive to trust. Utilising structural equation modelling, this paper distinguishes between ethnic in-group trust (in the Danish context, trusting fellow Danes) and ethnic out-group trust (trusting refugees and immigrants), in addition to a more generalised social trust towards unknown others. Previous studies in this field have not distinguished between these different dimensions of social trust. Results show that, vis-à-vis generalised trust, at the individual level, nationalism cannot compensate for lower trust towards immigrants with higher trust towards other Danes. There is some support for the ‘national identity’ argument, whereby nationalism, perceived shared values and in-group trust are positively correlated. However, the net effect of nationalism upon generalised trust remains negative. By contrast, multiculturalism is associated with higher levels of in-group trust and out-group trust and ultimately of generalised trust.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume25
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)822-846
Number of pages25
ISSN1354-5078
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • multiculturalism
  • national identity
  • nationalism
  • social cohesion
  • social trust

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