Operationalising national identity: the cases of the Scottish National Party and Frisian National Party

Arno van der Zwet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


The article sets out to examine the complexity of national identity and to provide a more nuanced understanding of how inclusive and exclusive characteristics of national identity, which appear theoretically contradictory but show empirically considerable compatibility, relate to each other. In order to empirically investigate the nature of national identity, the article develops a multidimensional model – consisting of an ethnic, cultural, territorial and civic dimension. The article explores the understanding of national identity in two specific groups: members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the United Kingdom and members of the Frisian National Party (FNP) in the Netherlands. The evidence presented is based on data from two full membership studies, and the model is operationalised using a confirmatory factor analyses. The conclusion is that national identity can be conceptualised as consisting of one, or several, base layer(s) that can be ‘topped-up’ with secondary layers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-82
Number of pages21
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2015


  • national identity
  • SNP
  • Scottish National Party
  • nationalism
  • Frisian National Party
  • The Netherlands
  • Scotland
  • autonomist parties


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