“Nationalism and Shared Democratic Identity” by Jiyoung Ko
December 16, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Author: Jiyoung Ko (Bates)
Abstract: Nationalism is known for its deleterious effect in international relations: when nationalistic sentiments are stimulated, people tend to prefer hawkish foreign policy and call for military aggression. Is there any way to mitigate the adverse consequences of nationalism? In this article, based on the Common In-group Identity Model in social psychology, I claim that reminding citizens in democracies of their shared identity as “democratic citizens” is a potential way to weaken the negative impact of nationalism. Using an original survey experiment conducted in Japan, this study demonstrates that citizens’ tendency to favor hawkish foreign policy upon stimulation of nationalistic sentiments vanishes when they are reminded that another country involved in a dispute is a democracy like their own country. A follow-up survey experiment in South Korea suggests that democratic values may contribute to creating this effect. These findings provide important implications for the study of nationalism and international conflict while shedding new light on causal mechanisms of the democratic peace theory.