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National identity and populism: The relationship between conceptions of nationhood and populist attitudes

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Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 27, Issue 3, Page 656-672, July 2021. ", "\nAbstract\nConventional wisdom argues that national identity and populism go hand in hand. We disentangle this relationship by examining how populist attitudes relate to two distinct conceptions of nationhood: civic and ethnic national identity. We argue that a civic conception of nationhood is negatively related to populism, while an ethnic conception of nationhood is positively related. Additionally, we expect these relationships to be moderated by socio‐economic status. Using data from the German Longitudinal Election Study from 2017, our analyses show that, on average, both civic and ethnic conceptions of nationhood relate positively to populist attitudes. This finding, however, changes substantially once we account for socio‐economic status: For respondents with higher levels of education and/or a more positive evaluation of the state of the economy, the relationship between civic national identity and populism turns negative, which is more in line with our expectations. We find no moderation for an ethnic national identity.\n"]