Humanities & Social Sciences, Vol 7, No 1 (2014)

Value of (Expla)nation: Testing Modernist Theories of Nationalism

Marharyta Saulovna Fabrykant


The aim of the research is empirical testing of the most prominent modernist theories of nationalism. These theories view nation-building and national identities as an outcome of transfer from traditional to modern societies and differ with regard to what spheres of modernity are considered the most relevant to nationalism. The study uses the integrated database of the third, fourth and fifth waves of the World Values Survey to test hypotheses derived from major modernist theories of nationalism. Results of country-level regression analysis show that nationalism is closer related to general value sets, such as tolerance of deviant behaviour than political attitudes. Regionally specific theories of nationalism are revealed to have the highest predictive power for a country average level of nationalism. Theories posing nationalism as challenged by local and cosmopolitan identities are rejected by empirical evidence of their positive interrelation. The results imply that contemporary nationalism is different from that of the early modernity reflected in modernist theories and suggests less strict choices and more hybridization of multiple identities.