The pandemic and the question of national belonging: Exposure to covid-19 threat and conceptions of nationhood

Wamsler, Steffen; Freitag, Markus; Erhardt, Julian; Filsinger, Maximilian (2022). The pandemic and the question of national belonging: Exposure to covid-19 threat and conceptions of nationhood. European Journal of Political Research Wiley 10.1111/1475-6765.12515

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Drawing on the behavioural immune system hypothesis, we argue that the prevalence of the Covid-19 pandemic threat in an individual's respective environment relates to exclusive, ethnic conceptions of nationhood. Referring to the affective intelligence theory, we maintain that specific negative emotions are prompted by the perception of being exposed to a pandemic threat, and these emotional states in turn structure political preferences regarding national belonging. Using an original survey in six European countries during the first peak of the pandemic in late April and early May 2020, we analyze both the impact of individual Covid-19 experiences and the contextual exposure to a pandemic threat through hierarchical analyses of 105 European regions. Our empirical analysis shows that exposure to the pandemic is linked to stronger ethnic national identities for both levels of analysis. We also find that anger substantially mediates this relationship and has primacy over feelings of fear. Taken together, our results indicate that the behavioural immune system appears as a pervasive obstacle to inclusive orientations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Wamsler, Steffen; Freitag, Markus; Erhardt, Julian Jonas and Filsinger, Maximilian

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science

ISSN:

0304-4130

Publisher:

Wiley

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation ; [UNSPECIFIED] Berne University Research Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Steffen Wamsler

Date Deposited:

04 Apr 2022 15:05

Last Modified:

04 Apr 2022 15:05

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/1475-6765.12515

Uncontrolled Keywords:

affective intelligence theory; behavioural immune system hypothesis; conceptions of nationhood; Covid-19; pandemic threat

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/166372

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/166372

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