Rise in glob­al­ism doesn’t mean the end for na­tion­al­ists

Are you more of a na­tion­al­ist or a cos­mopoli­tan? Or both?

Malta Independent - - COMMENT - Burcu Bayram

Re­cent events sug­gest that a na­tion­al­ist back­lash to glob­al­i­sa­tion is on the rise. The United King­dom’s de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union, Don­ald Trump’s win in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of rightwing par­ties in France, Aus­tria and Ger­many at­test to this.

Lib­er­als in par­tic­u­lar are puz­zled by the spike in na­tion­al­ism on a global scale. Some may won­der, where have all the global cit­i­zens gone? The an­swer, I ar­gue, is nowhere. The con­fu­sion comes in be­cause the ideal of a self­less global cit­i­zen, some­one who puts global is­sues above na­tional in­ter­ests, does not re­ally ex­ist.

It’s true. Data from the World Val­ues Sur­vey shows that since the early 1990s, the in­te­gra­tion of mar­kets, com­mu­ni­ties and cul­tures has bred a new gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who con­sider them­selves “cos­mopoli­tan,” or global cit­i­zens. The World Val­ues Sur­vey was started by so­cial sci­en­tists in 1981, and is of­ten con­ducted face-to-face with rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ples of adults from each coun­try. Re­searchers such as Pippa Nor­ris and Roland In­gle­hart, among oth­ers, have also used the World Val­ues Sur­vey data to iden­tify trends in cos­mopoli­tanism.

Three-fourths of nearly 85,000 adult re­spon­dents from 60 coun­tries sur­veyed by the World Val­ues Sur­vey be­tween 2010 and 2014 iden­ti­fied as global cit­i­zens.

How­ever, my re­search shows that global cit­i­zen­ship and na­tion­al­ism are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive.

Global cit­i­zens love their coun­try. Of those who strongly iden­ti­fied as global cit­i­zens in the latest round of the World Val­ues Sur­vey, 82 per cent also strongly iden­ti­fied with their na­tion, and 74 per cent are highly proud of their na­tion.

About 68 per cent of the 2,176 re­spon­dents from the US ex­pressed ei­ther a strong or a mod­er­ate de­gree of global cit­i­zen­ship. Of these global cit­i­zens, more than 46 per cent also strongly iden­tify with the United States, and 61 per cent are very proud to be Amer­i­can. Sim­i­lar pat­terns ex­ist in Europe, the Mid­dle East and Asia.

This data sug­gests that most global cit­i­zens do not shed their na­tional iden­tity. Global cit­i­zens are still pro­tec­tive of na­tional in­ter­ests.

Con­sider this. The 2005-2009 World Val­ues Sur­vey in­cluded a ques­tion (not re­peated in the latest round) that asked re­spon­dents whether their na­tion’s lead­ers should give top pri­or­ity to help re­duce poverty in the world, or solve their own coun­try’s prob­lems. About 62 per cent of those who iden­ti­fied as global cit­i­zens said they would put their coun­try’s prob­lems first. The pol­icy im­pli­ca­tion of this is that global cit­i­zens are not nec­es­sar­ily in­ter­ested in in­creas­ing for­eign de­vel­op­ment aid to poor coun­tries.

Many global cit­i­zens also take a hard-line stance on im­mi­gra­tion. Of those who strongly iden­ti­fied as global cit­i­zens, more than 36 per cent sup­ported mak­ing im­mi­gra­tion con­di­tional on the avail­abil­ity of jobs. Some 35 per cent pre­ferred plac­ing strict lim­its on im­mi­gra­tion, and about 12 per cent sup­ported a to­tal ban. Only about 16 per cent of global cit­i­zens favoured un­re­stricted move­ment of peo­ple.

When it comes to re­quire­ments for cit­i­zen­ship, many global cit­i­zens sup­ported mod­els of cit­i­zen­ship that re­quire an­ces­tral bonds. About 70 per cent of those who strongly iden­ti­fied as global cit­i­zens said an­ces­try is im­por­tant in qual­i­fy­ing for cit­i­zen­ship.

What is global cit­i­zen­ship then? What this data sug­gest is that while many see global cit­i­zen­ship and na­tion­al­ism as po­lar op­po­sites, they are not. The growth of the num­ber of peo­ple who iden­tify as global cit­i­zens does not mean na­tion­al­ist con­cerns, hawk­ish for­eign poli­cies and iso­la­tion­ism are con­cepts of the past. For many, be­ing a global cit­i­zen and a na­tion­al­ist go hand in hand.

Global cit­i­zen­ship is an ac­quired so­cial iden­tity that is shaped by how in­di­vid­u­als pri­or­i­tize val­ues such as uni­ver­sal­ism and self-en­hance­ment. As I show in my ar­ti­cle pub­lished in the Euro­pean Jour­nal of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, global cit­i­zen­ship is com­pat­i­ble with both self­ish and al­tru­is­tic val­ues. While some global cit­i­zens are mo­ti­vated by uni­ver­sal moral con­cerns such as pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and the wel­fare of hu­man be­ings, oth­ers are sim­ply driven by ego­is­tic mo­tives. And these ego­is­tic mo­tives can be used to pro­tect the na­tion.

The mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion is, how do peo­ple re­ally un­der­stand global cit­i­zen­ship? Right now, we have a bet­ter idea of what global cit­i­zen­ship is not than of what it is. Global cit­i­zens do not seem to like con­form­ity, sta­tus quo and con­ven­tion, but they like the na­tion and even put it first.

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