Conceptions of national identity and attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism: a comparative study of two ‘civic’ autonomist parties

Arno Van Der Zwet

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper analyses attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism in two autonomist parties, the Scottish National Party and the Frisian National Party. Both parties are members of the European Free Alliance, ‘an alliance of regionalist and civic, democratic nationalist parties in Europe’ (EFA website). However, the parties highlight the broad diversity of ‘civic’ autonomist parties; the SNP being a large governing party which utilizes an economic narrative to further its autonomist agenda whereas the FNP
is a provincial party in the Netherlands with a strong cultural focus. Both parties have had to formulate policies and create a narrative in relation to immigration. This paper compares attitudes to immigration and multiculturalism in both parties by examining different conceptions of national identity. A mixed methods approach is adopted, including quantitative analysis of surveys of both parties’ memberships and semi-
structured interviews with party elites as well as documentary analysis. It is demonstrated that contextual factors such as immigration pressures, demographic challenges and peripherality help to explain the parties’ official positions. These are, in general, positive towards immigration and multiculturalism. However, at an individual level there is considerable divergence between members in terms of attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 25 Jun 2012
EventCRONEM conference 2012 - University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Jul 201227 Jul 2012


ConferenceCRONEM conference 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityUniversity of Sussex


  • nationalism
  • immigration
  • SNP
  • FNP

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