Determinants of National Identity in East and West Germany: An Empirical Comparison of Theories on the Significance of Authoritarianism, Anomie, and General Self-Esteem



This paper presents an integrated theoretical model of national identity, nationalism, and patriotism that takes into account some action-theoretical deliberations, the theories of authoritarianism and anomie, and the social identity approach. The model was tested empirically for citizens of the former East and West Germany with the use of a structural equations model. Most of the hypotheses were supported: Authoritarianism has a significant potential to explain national identity and nationalism. Anomie and general self-esteem are of subordinate relevance. Generally, East and West Germans identify themselves with Germany for the same reasons. However, these results suggest a more differentiated analysis of the effects of anomie and general self-esteem in explaining national identity.