National Symbols, their Meanings, and how they relate to National Identification, Outgroup Attitudes and National Sentiments: Rhetorical, Correlational and Experimental Studies
Publications of the Department of Social Research 2012:12 Social Psychology
The main aim of this thesis is to examine the extent to which both the contextual salience of different national symbols and the degree to which individuals perceive their nation through them relate to people’s attitudes towards immigrants. No research thus far has simultaneously taken into account the meanings conveyed by different national symbols, how they relate to outgroup attitudes and the extent to which different psychological factors such as identification or national sentiments are involved in this process. According to the results obtained, national symbols convey meanings that differ in how strongly the boundaries between groups are constructed. This distinction is important because the difference in the degree to which individuals perceive their nation through these national symbols relates to national sentiments and the association between national identification and attitudes towards immigrants. Also the contextual salience of these national symbols influences outgroup attitudes in different ways. This study suggests that it matters how the nation is presented in the media and in politics, and how ordinary people perceive their nation, even when the most common national symbols are used in the presentation.