The Ideal Compatriot' – the Influence of Global Ideas, Elite Discourse, and Changing National Contexts on Individuals' Perceptions of the Ideal Citizen

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Markus HADLER, Macquarie University, Australia
Anaid FLESKEN, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
The definitions of citizenship and citizen rights have changed over the last century from more national loyalty principles to more inclusive concepts of global and natural rights. International institutions such as the European Union, but also an increasing global civil society, have undermined the concept of distinct and separate nations. Yet these developments are not uncontested. Globally, but particularly in Europe, anti-immigrant protest movements are increasingly visible while nationalistic parties gained influence in the political arena.

Considering such diverse trends as backdrop, this contribution investigates individuals’ perceptions of an ideal citizen across countries and over time using survey data from the International Social Survey Programme. The dependent variable is based on the respondents’ views on which characteristics are important for being truly British, German, Austrian, etc. – which were included in the 1995, 2003, and 2013 ISSP modules. Independent variables are various socio-demographics and attitudes at the individual level.  At the country level, the international embedding of a society, dominant party views, and other national characteristics such the level of affluence and immigration are considered.

Methodologically, a multilevel analysis is applied that considers both individual and contextual characteristics as well as changes over time in a single model. A novel unbalanced time-comparative design is used, which allows to include countries regardless of how many of the three ISSP waves were fielded. This strategy allows to differentiate between over-time and cross-sectional effects, which has been done rarely in previous analyses.

The contribution thus speaks to two audiences: Firstly, to scholars who are interested in individuals’ conceptualizations of a ‘good citizen’, the changes of these conceptualizations over time, and the underlying determinants. Secondly, it speaks to scholars who are interested in the methodological aspects of how to analyze cross-national and time-comparative survey data in unbalanced datasets.