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Immigrants’ National Identification: Meanings, Determinants, and Consequences


Maykel Verkuyten, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University Heidelberglaan, Willem van Unnik building Room 2023, 23584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 30 253 4733 [e-mail:].


This article provides a social psychological analysis of immigrants’ identification with the country of settlement, that is, their host national identification. We first discuss national (dis)identification in relation to dual identity and religion. Subsequently and drawing on acculturation research and the social identity perspective, we discuss four conditions that can stimulate or hinder the development of national identification: sociostructural circumstances, perceived discrimination, identity undermining, and in-group norms. Furthermore, we underline the relevance of studying two largely unexplored yet important consequences of immigrants’ national identification: the evaluations of other minority groups and political involvement. We conclude by recognizing the value of a dual identity and by proposing a number of policies that might facilitate its development. We also discuss the obstacles toward the creation of a harmonious dual identity. These obstacles are related to the way in which the national category is defined and to the four conditions mentioned.