Thursday, March 2, 2006
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
Who's the proudest country of them all?
The University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center just released a cross-national survey to find who had the greatest degree of pride in their countries.
Guess who did well? The results may partially surprise you:
Among 33 nations surveyed, the United States was the nation with the leading score in pride over specific accomplishments and Venezuela was the leading nation in the general national pride portion of the survey....Click here to see the full paper. The paper distinguishes between the general pride and domain-specific measures as follows:
The domain-specific measure assesses positive feelings towards national accomplishments in specific areas, but is not overtly nationalistic, imperialistic, nor chauvinistic. The general national pride measure has a much harder edge to it..... [put] another way, the domain-specific, national pride scale is nationally affirming without being necessarily hegemonic, but the general, agree-disagree, national-pride scale places one's nation above other countries.For a variety of reasons, I'm not surprised about the U.S. results -- they're pretty consistent with both the 1995/96 results and the "American exceptionalism" thesis underlying those responses.
Venezuelan pride does surprise me a bit. General Social Survey director Tom Smith observed that the top two countries "formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens." That could be it. Supporters of Hugo Chavez no doubt would credit his policies.posted by Dan on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM
What about the other 159 countries? I understand it is hard to survey any single country in the world. But then again, what's the use of these statistics if it only covers 1 in 6 countries...posted by: Eric on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Having lived in South America for quite a while, Venezuela doesn't surprise me too much. Identification with the Bolivarian Revolution is probably what does it. Chile especially doesn't surprise me -- that's where I lived -- but I think their nationalism is a bit more healthy. They don't even consider themselves latino!posted by: Robert Mayer on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
I'm a little surprised by the low showing if the French because their behavior is quite otherwise and also because of their history as perhaps THE leader of Western thought up until quite recently.
The Brits? Well they lost their empire and their position of imperial pre-eminence. Even so I would have thought there is a lot to be proud of in their record. The Germans are a special case because they are still working off the psychological legacy of the Holocaust, but why should the French and especially the British should feel similarly.posted by: Don Stadler on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
I think one thing that could impact the feeling that American's have about their own country is the fact that we often have not traveled outsdide of our own country very much. For young people in Europe, they can get to another country fairly easily. So, they have a perspective on whether or not their country really is the best. Getting a world-view changes how you look at America drastically.
Isn't Venezuela the country with the highest rate of plastic surgery on the planet? Correlation or coincidence?
Don asks why Brits are so down on themselves given a record of (all in all) great achievements. This, as someone who has studied and lived in the country, has many friends from there, and is in general a fairly pronounced Anglophile, is a mystery worthy of Holmes himself.
As for the rest of Europe, ironically the people with the greatest (without being obnoxious) national pride are the Nordics--especially Icelanders and Danes. By contrast I've rarely met a German who didn't openly wish s/he had been born elsewhere. That CAN'T be good.posted by: Kelli on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
I'll bet Germany in around 1939, or 1940 would have been right up there too.posted by: ulpian on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Don Stadler: //I'm a little surprised by the low showing if the French because their behavior is quite otherwise//
Like? Anything to back that up?
//but why should the French and especially the British should feel similarly.//
It's your stereotypes that make you think we're a "proud" (that's the nice word, typically, for the French you would say "arrogant", "smugly", whatever) country. The French in general have no overhyped sense of themselves.posted by: superfrenchie on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
New national motto?
Are the low scores in Taiwan an indication that a lot of the population wants to be absorbed into the PRC? Or is there some other explanation?posted by: FXKLM on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Hmmm. I would rather be a citizen of my own country, NZ, than any other country in the world, because as a NZ citizen it is very easy to get visas to visit other countries. Also people in other countries are very seldom angry at you, because the only thing they know about NZ is Lord of the Rings, and diehard LotR fans are very seldom violent.
This is not necessarily the same as being proud of your country.posted by: Tracy W on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
These results are very understandable. There are two reasons why people can be proud of their nation. One is the bad one of nationalism. (See George Orwell's essay "Notes on Nationailsm.")
Americans are non-nationalistic. Venezuelans are nationalistic. In other words, their high score is not a good thing. On the other hand, the low score of Eastern European countries is not a bad thing, because they scored low on the non-nationalistic part of the survey -- presumably because they see little their countries have achieved to be proud of (yet).
The only people other than Americans I've ever heard say that they live in the greatest country in the world are Australians and New Zealanders. Good for them. That's great! But what's the matter with the rest of Western civilization? All they can do is trash-talk, and to avoid trashing their home (like a dog that won't soil its bed) they prefer to slough that off on America.posted by: Kathy - At the Zoo on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
In my opinion you can't be proud of living in a country, or born in a country.
This thread went weird (or maybe it always was).
Kathy - Americans aren't nationalistic? While I agree with you that nationalism can be quite pernicious, uhm...on a scale out of 25, the high score was 18.4 and we were a whopping 0.7 points behind them. We came in second in generic nationalistic pride.
JLS - I agree that for me, the word "pride" is a weird word to use. But it's what people use. Eventually I decided that my "I love America" (which I do) is close enough, most times, to other peoples' "proud [of / to be] America[n]". But...I presume you mean even dwarfs and the obese are proud *of their dwarfness and obesity* (as opposed to being flabbergasted that fat people love their country too)...leaving the latter aside because the health issues get complicated, do you think Little People should be ashamed of their height / who they are? I think American identity politics are weird, but...dude.posted by: Quarterican on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
"In my opinion you can't be proud of living in a country, or born in a country.
Yet drive-by nehilism is all too European. Cant even be bothered to stop the Muslim immigrants from burning down their own cities. Whats the point? C'est la vie. How jingoistic to assume turning Paris into Beirut is a change for the worse. How bourgeois.posted by: Mark Buehner on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Superfrenchie, my evidence is anecdotal. Ask a member of any of the nations bordering France and they will tell you French behavior doesn't indicate any great modesty. I'll admit that is a bit rich coming from the Brits and the Germans, but.....
About French pride you mistake me. I think the French are justifiably proud, sometimes justifiably arrogant. There is a lot there and it's not only the great cultural and intellectual history of France. Napoleon, Verdun, Saint Louis, Charlemagne, Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours which stopped the Muslim invasion of Europe in it's tracks. Not to mention the victorious absorbtion of all the little states now part of modern France.
Given all this I continue low French score astonishing....posted by: Don Stadler on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Don Stadler: //Superfrenchie, my evidence is anecdotal. Ask a member of any of the nations bordering France and they will tell you French behavior doesn't indicate any great modesty. I'll admit that is a bit rich coming from the Brits and the Germans, but.....//
But my point is that whether it comes from you or from the Germans or from the Brits, the "arrogant" image of the French is simply a stereotype based on no actual fact. The survey, which is actual fact, proves it.posted by: superfrenchie on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Kathy wrote, "Americans are non-nationalistic. Venezuelans are nationalistic. In other words, their high score is not a good thing."
Ignoring the idea that idea that Americans are "not nationlistic," with which I disagree, let's look what American's base their pride on (military strength, global influence, economic dominance) vs. Venezuelans (fair treatment of minorities, arts, sports, etc.)
The U.S. pride stems from power, while Venezuelan pride stems from social accomplishments. It's hard to construe that as "bad" nationalism.posted by: yakima on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
The Irish are the proudest nation on earth, they had to fight against the famine and the british for years but still kept their chins up.posted by: Brian Finnegan on 03.02.06 at 12:36 AM [permalink]
Post a Comment: