Conceptions of Nationhood, National Pride and Nationalistic Attitudes in Turkey: A Structural Equation Modelling Approach with Data from ISSP’s “National Identity III” Module
M. Murat Ardag, M.A.
University of Oldenburg
School of Educational and Social Sciences
Center for Comparative Politics
Thursday, March 24, 12:30 p.m.
A-130 (Seminar Room), FEASS Building
Public opinion on Turkishness and what it means to be Turkish is diverse and elusive. The Turkish case is not unique in this sense given the protean nature of nationalism. Yet, nationalism in Turkey demonstrates some puzzling unique characteristics given the paradoxical normative content of the Turkish national identity. Some of these paradoxes have been investigated with research methods, which include historical accounts and content analysis; however, research that addresses Turkish nationalism with nationally representative survey data is still scarce.
In a number of studies, using the National Identity III module of the International Social Survey program, I explore and explain the relationships between 5 constructs (conceptions of nationhood, national pride, nationalistic attitudes, anti-minority attitudes and anti-immigrant attitudes) related to Turkish nationalism. Some of the questions that are investigated are the following: Does the public opinion suggest an ethnic or a civic conception of nationhood in Turkey? What are the different sources of Turkish national pride? What is the relationship between nationalistic attitudes and national pride in Turkey? How are all these constructs related to anti-minority and anti-immigrant attitudes in Turkey? Results obtained with structural equation modelling reveal that Turkish nationalistic attitudes’ relationship with anti-immigrant attitudes is not very different than similar cases like Germany and Greece (which also show ethnic nationalism characteristics). But on the other hand, analyses of the (1) structure of Turkish national pride (2) public conceptions of nationhood reveal the paradoxes of Turkish national identity on a mass level. The relationship between these two constructs and anti-minority attitudes in Turkey seems to reflect the unresolved issues in the “what it means to be Turkish” question. Furthermore, the results seem to empirically suggest that different segments of the society in Turkey have different understandings of Turkishness, and these different groups in the Turkish sample tend to emphasize different sources of national pride. I discuss the overall findings with theoretic and academic implications. The investigation of Turkish nationalism with conventional social and political psychology methodologies, certainly, broadens the research agenda and provides us some useful insights on the paradoxes of Turkish national identity. Nevertheless, such conventional methodologies fall short in explaining the subjectivity in national identification mechanisms. As a tentative conclusion, I argue that scholars of nationalism studies need mixed method approaches that should include subjectivity
in quantitative measures.
M. Murat Ardag is a lecturer and a researcher in the Social Sciences Institute at Oldenburg University. He teaches courses on political psychology, nationalism and prejudice. His research interests are at the intersection of nationalism studies and political psychology.