How do national economic crises affect citizens’ feelings of attachment to the nation? Does a country’s loss of economic status trigger expressions of nationalism as is often assumed? Building on insights from social identity theory, we hypothesize that crises of the national economy do not lead to a generalized increase of nationalism but that the effect is conditioned by individuals’ perceived socio-economic status. In addition, we explore whether framing national economic difficulties as a result of policies imposed at the level of European institutions enhances the conditional effect of the crisis on nationalism. Drawing on data from a survey experiment in Spain, we find that when exposed to messages about the crisis of the national economy, national pride is strengthened among lower-class individuals but weakened among the upper class and that the effects on nationalism are important only if the loss of national economic status is framed in terms of European responsibility.
- blame attribution
- perceived socio-economic status
- status loss
- survey experiment