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Revisiting Group Attachment: Ethnic and National Identity

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The study of ethnic and national identity, owing to the complex interaction between individuals, groups, and systems, has not remained confined to traditional disciplinary boundaries. In particular, a branch of social-psychological research has provided insight into the most fundamental aspect of this phenomenon, subjective bonds between individuals and groups. Here, data derived from a Q-methodological study of Basque national identity are used to show that claims advanced within the existing literature appear to be restricted in their ability to explain subjective attachment to the nation; that is, they cannot adequately account for the types of bonds that emerged from the Basque case study. Primarily through Q methodology, an alternative explanation and method for uncovering the ties between individuals and groups is offered. In the place of previously vague and restrictive a priori categories of collective attachment, Q is shown to offer a means by which to explore the subjective nature of ethnic and national identification.
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Keywords: Basques; National identity; Q methodology; ethnic identity; social psychology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cameron University

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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