National Identity and the Consumer

Essay by MuzdogUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2006

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National identity is a group or an individual's collective characteristics by which they are known and recognise themselves with respect to the country they live in or have other ties with. More specifically, literature often refers to patriotism and nationalism attitudes. Patriotism can be defined as one's love of his country (Berns, 1997). Nationalism, on the other hand, is the exalting of one's country and its culture above all others. The difference between the two terms can be distinguished by an individual who is very patriotic (loves one's country) yet possesses weaker nationalism (does not glorify his country above other countries).

Current literature has accounted for countries where citizens are presented with two different national identities, for their state and for their nation. For these countries, literature has proposed that there exists a continuum representing a citizen's national identity status (Billiet et al, 2003). On one end of this continuum are citizens who exclusively identify with their national entity (eg.

Australia) and on the other end are citizens who exclusively identify with their subnational entity (eg. Queensland). The continuum representing Australians is illustrated below in Figure 1.

Identification with Australia (nation)         | ------------------------------------------------------------|         Identification with Queensland (subnation)

Figure 1: The national identity continuum.

Those who identify with both national entities, Australia and Queensland, are located somewhere in the middle of the continuum. These citizens can be described as having a multiple national identity. Billiet et al (2003), in a study of Belgium, found that the continuum not only measured direction of national identity, but also intensity of national identity. Citizens located on either extremes of the continuum had high patriotism for their nation or subnation, whereas citizens in the middle had weak identification with both, their nation and subnation. The research further found that the patriots tended to hold more...