Academic journal article Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE

Evaluating the Structure of Nationalistic Inclinations: Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Academic journal article Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe : JEMIE

Evaluating the Structure of Nationalistic Inclinations: Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

This article represents a somewhat extended version of an already published article in the Croatian language in the journal Po litical Perspective, 4 (1), 2014. Namely, distribution of results are explained in more detail, the section "Influence of gender on the internalization of the nationalistic inclination" is added, graphical presentations of results are made, and in this paper we used the term "nationalistic inclinations" instead of "nationalistic syndrome".

The concept of nationalism can be studied on various levels of analysis and from different aspects, so it is hard to define it in a way that would be generally accepted in the social sciences. For example, nationalism can be studied as a particular political ideology (Conversi 2012; Freeden 1998; Zaslove 2009), as a process of creating a nation or establishing a national state (Wimmer and Feinstein, 2010), as an individual political orientation (Dekker, Malova and Hoogendoorn 2003; Reeskens and Wright 2013), a socio-anthropological construct (Gingrich 2006; Jaspal and Cinnirella 2012), or as a space of particular ethnic attitudes that indicate the existence of a nationalistic sentiment (Breuilly 1996; Fenton 2012; Hjerm and Schnabel 2010; Ting 2008). In other words, studying the phenomenon of nationalism can be approached from the aspect of political science, sociology, anthropology, history, and political psychology. It is the different disciplinarian starting points in studying nationalism, as well as the application of different methodological procedures in measuring it, that lead to ambiguity in terms of conceptualization and operationalization of the phenomenon of nationalism. Additional blurring of the concept and measuring of nationalism comes from the authors who identify the 'nationalistic' with the perception of national superiority and orientation towards national dominance (e.g. Kemmelmeier and Winter 2008; Kosterman and Feshbach 1989); who make insufficient distinction between the political-psychological meaning and the sources of ethnocentrism and nationalism (e.g. Kangrga 2002; Sekulic and Sporer 2006; Todosijevic 1995); who define nationalism in terms of strong national attachment and strong awareness of being affiliated to one's own nation (Cottam et al. 2010; Kissane and Sitter 2013; Krizanec and Corkalo Biruski 2009; Sidanius et al. 1997), or who define nationalism by using various other concepts, like chauvinism, collection narcissism or blind patriotism (Coenders and Scheepers 2003; Golec de Zavala, Cichocka and Bilewicz 2013; Lieven 2004; Schatz, Staub and Levine 1999). It can be noted that the political ideology or world view of certain authors often greatly influences the measuring methods, and interpretation of nationalism as attitude inclinations composed of various components or dimensions of ethnic views and sentiments. This imbalance in defining and measuring the nationalistic inclinations makes it difficult to predict the political, social and economic behaviour of individuals and particular social and national groups in a potentially conflictive historical-political context. The importance of conceptualization, operationalization and construction of instruments for measuring nationalistic inclinations is certainly important in the area of studying the migration processes (Ariely 2012), national security (Griffith 2010; Melander 2009), globalization processes (Olzak 2011) and economic relations (Chorafas 2010; Solt 2011). The confusion in conceptualization and operationalization of nationalistic inclinations as a political-psychological construct contributes to its weak explanatory power, and also both makes it difficult to construct an integral theory of nationalism, and makes it impossible on the empirical level to make a valid interpretation of findings obtained from research in various historical and political contexts. Unlike the historical-developmental and political approach in studying nationalism, on the level of individual political orientation it is much more complex to define nationalism that actually presents a set of different individual ethnical viewpoints and sentiments, i. …

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