MODERNIZATION, ETHNICITY, AND NATIONALISM: DEVELOPING A UNIFYING NATIONAL IDENTITY IN MULTICULTURAL COUNTRIES FORMERLY SUBJUGATED TO COLONIALISM
Degree awarded: Ph.D. Sociology. American University
This dissertation examines the role of increases in rates of urbanization, adult literacy, and media usage in the development of a unifying national identity in multicultural countries formerly subjugated to colonialism. More than one hundred of the one hundred seventy five countries ranked by the United Nations 2006 Human Development Report were subjugated to colonialism and are multicultural with populations consisting of more than one ethnic group. The ethnic groups that populate multicultural countries previously subjected to colonialism were often united under coercion. Thus, if opposing collective consciousnesses react to each other vigorously, the potential for conflict in these nation-states impacts the potential for long term sustainable development. Emile Durkheim and Daniel Lerner theorized that the modernization process could bring about pluralism in diverse social environments. Utilizing bivariate and multiple regression analysis, this dissertation combines the modernization approaches of Durkheim and Lerner with data gathered via the fourth wave of the World Values Survey to gauge the degree to which the modernization process has impacted social attitudes and national identity in these countries. The study finds that (1) the explanatory power of the modernization process to explain variations in social change and national identity is very weak; (2) increases in the modernization variables education level, size of town, and frequency following politics in the news were related to respondents reporting belonging to broader geographical areas ("the world" rather than "my nation" or "my local area"); and (3) after controlling for colonial subjugation and multicultural status, the modernization process has a stronger influence in countries that are not multicultural.
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