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The mediated communities: testing media effects on the construction of national identity, national pride, and global identity in China, Brazil, India, South Africa, and the US.

The concept of national identity has been examined from a wide variety of academic disciplines. Each discipline brings its own perspective into the analysis. Rhetoricians have examined the discourse of public figures as they provide a description of "the people" (Charland, 1987; Condit, & Lucaites, 1993; McGee, 1975), literary critics are concerned with the applications to the study of the novel (Culler, 1999) and derivative discourse (Parker, 1999), and those in marketing note the effect on branding (Caylan & Eckhardt, 2008). There is also a body of scholarship, which examines the linkage between visual and spatial symbolism and national identity (Clarke, 2004; Hariman & Lucites, 2007).

Numerous influential scholars believe that the emergence of mass media, in particular books and newspapers, significantly contributes to the formulation of the concept of a national state and the development of national identities. Marshall McLuhan (1962/2002, 1964) might be the first scholar who noticed the contribution of the birth of the mass media, in his case the print books introduced by Gutenberg's invention of movable types, to the formation of people's visualization of the national unity. The mass production and mass distribution of books, argued McLuhan (1964), standardized the language, singularized the tone and attitude to readers and subjects, and unified the population. That theory was inherited and popularized by Benedict Anderson, with his book Imagined Communities (1991, 2006). The popularity of the theory is reflected in that the book, now in its third publication, has been published in 27 languages in 30 countries. Anderson (1991, 2006) argued that the theory answered the classic question raised by John Dewey (1927) of how political dynamics can exist in larger communities, such as a nation state, in which members have no chance to know the existence of many other members.

The mass media facilitate the formation of a national identity mainly from three perspectives. First, they standardize the languages and make a national discourse possible. National identity, in the 21st century, essentially refers to the belief of citizens of a nation state in a shared culture, history, tradition, symbol, language, religion, and destiny, and "reflects the sentiment of belonging to the nation" (Guibernau, 2004, p. 134). The building of such belief depends on communications among fellow-nationals that require the use of a common language. Historically, such common standard language was created by the first type of mass media--books (Anderson, 1991/2006; McLuhan, 1962/2002, 1964).

Secondly, the mass media contribute to the formation of national identities by informing individuals who might have never traveled to other places of the country, helping them imagine the nation and regard it as a community to which the individuals belong. The mass media help inform members about the existence and activities of other members in the nation state, and therefore create an imagined political community. On the other hand, in modern days, media tend to carry international contents, which reinforce the audience's awareness of the territorial limit of the nation and therefrom the sense of national citizenship, namely, national identity (Guibernau, 2004). Media coverage of international issues, Nimmo and Comb (1983) find, fall neatly in the framework of "them" and "us" and constantly fortify national identities. Through media use, people connect with other fellow citizens in the "imagined community" and together build up a sense of "weness."

Thirdly, the mass media also integrate the community by exposing all members to a common, mediated political culture, which further creates a common political language among all community citizens and builds social bonds among them (Mutz, 1998). Mihelj (2011) further identifies the types of political cultures that are normally mediated to the public in order to form the nationhood, through his study of post-apartheid South Africa, post-communist Easter Europe and post-1980 India. He classifies countries into three types based on the roles that the media play in forming those political cultures: nation of comrades (the communist media model), ethnic nations or nations of believers (the fascist media model), and nations of traders, consumers, and industrialists (the liberal media model). In all countries, even the democratic ones, political elites often use mass media as a platform to emphasize core values and themes of the nation, demonize hostile states, and shape the political culture. Journalists tend to closely paraphrase those nationalist themes of the political elites, facilitating the construction of the national identity (Hutchenson, Domke, Billeaudeaux, & Garland, 2004). The monopoly of the mass media in the process of mass communication, Bloom (1990) speculates, magnifies the function of political culture in shaping the national identity. Contemporary mass media make possible instantaneous mass communication, which they dominate. That provides the modern governments, which regularly set agendas for the mass media (McCombs & Reynolds, 2009)--opportunities of continuously constructing the national identity.

Empirical evidence echoes McLuhan (1962/2002, 1964) and Anderson's (1991, 2006) theory of media effects in the construction of national identities. A study of the New York Time's front-page photos shows that, as objective as it is, when the New York Times reports topics of as non-political as violence, it still fosters the US identity by effectively sanitizing US violence while delegitimizing the violence of non-US states (Fishman & Marvin, 2003). A textual analysis of British press's coverage of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle also reveals a major theme that it was the nation, rather than the individuals, that was under threat, a theme that was expected to bolster the national identity. Some times explicitly nationalism images related to BSE were published (Brooks, 1999). Even reality shows, Aslama and Pantti (2007) find, play an important role in constructing national identities. In a study of the identity of the European Union (EU), an increasingly integrative union of certain European nations, Polonska-Kimunguyi and Kimunguyi (2011) recognize media's role in the process of the EU identity-building and propose that media should be the conveyors of the soul of the new pan-national Europe.

A concept closely related to national identity is national pride. While national identity is the cohesive force consisting of citizens' self identification with the nation, national pride is citizens' positive affect derived from national identity and attached to their nations (Smith & Kim, 2006). In their study of national pride across the world in 1995-96 and 2003-04, Smith and Kim (2006) did not include media use and religiosity in their analysis, but they did find that national pride varied with age, gender, and education, with the older, males, and the less educated being more proud of their nationalities. They also found that those with higher national pride were less pro globalization.

Meanwhile, mass media also foster a global identity. McLuhan (1962/2002, 1964) speculated that books and later newspapers and magazines, with their nature of being visual and lacking of interaction with the audiences, hatched individualism and nationalism. Whereas electronic media, with their capacity of combing sights, sounds, and movements and their global contents, sealed the entire human family into a single global tribe, what he famously termed as a "global village. " The increasing globalization of television is making national governments and scholars concerned with local cultures worry about its possible destructive influence over national and local communities (Cohen, 2005). Such worry might make sense. For instance, an analysis of Israeli television programs suggests that, depending on the audience characteristics, television programs may stimulate national awareness or the desire of being a part of a global culture, although the governmental policy is to regulate television toward preserving the national identity (Cohen, 2005).

The relationship between maintaining the national identity and developing a global identity, therefore, is also worthy of exploration. While the growth of national identities in developing countries, such as the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), may bolster their confidence and economic development, some scholars argue that such growth of national identities may post harm to a global identity (Arnason, 2002). Inthorn (2007) also blames the strong tendency of media coverage of European issues from the national points of view for impeding the growth of the European identity, although it helps foster the national identities. Contrary evidence, however, also exists: Robertson (2010) examines television news in several European countries to see whether it helps construct a global community through building up a cosmopolitan imagination. She, based on her empirical data, concludes that the phenomenon of global communication itself is a sense of cosmopolitan citizenships among people. A study based on the data from the 2005-2008 round of the World Value Survey, which covers 49 societies in the world, suggests that a global identity does not contradict or replace national identities (Pichler, 2011). Cosmopolitan communications, argues Mihelj (2011), can be extended limitlessly only when people stick to national public spheres and nation-state legislation, suggesting the existence of a positive relationship between national identity and global identity.

While the focal predictor of national identity, pride, and global identity construction in this study is media use, other factors are also controlled to avoid superficial relationship identification. Among those factors are religiosity variables, which has been identified by Domke and Coe (2008) as a major influencer of American national politics sine late 1970s. Since Ronald Regan's presidency, the US presidents have increasingly used religious rhetoric to unite the nation. Anderson (2006) also points out that religious faith and cultural identity contribute to the creation of the awareness and concept of modern nations. Religions, with their international nature, often facilitate a global identity, some even encouraging their members to think of themselves as global citizens (McMullen, 2000). Religions play a creative role in shaping the modernization and globalization processes (Turner, 2001). They have developed a rhetoric of a global community for believers, such as the "Christendom" in Christianity or "Global Umma" in Islam. In particular, data show that Muslims are much more likely to see themselves as global citizens (Pichler, 2011).

Variables such as age, gender, education, interest in politics, postmaterialism, and life satisfaction are also found to influence political opinions and the formation of a global identity (Pichler, 2011; Yao, 2008). For instance, Pichler (2011) finds that the less educated are more reluctant to identify themselves as world citizens.

Why BR1CS and the US?

The US and the BRICS, a group of developing countries located in different continents, are chosen to represent various types of nation states in this study. Developing countries provide a natural "laboratory" for the observation of the shaping of a national identity. In addition, due to changing internal conditions, nations have to reinvent themselves and establish a new national identity. Most relevant to the BRICS are the re-creation of South Africa after the end of apartheid, and the emergence of China and India as major economic forces. The BRICS countries are also good representatives of countries at different levels of formation. A brief description of the growth of national identity for each of the BRICS follows, although for the analysis of this study data from Russia was not available.


With its thriving economy, China is clearly developing into a major economic power. Callahan (2003) discusses the role of Chinese political economy in the context of globalization:
   It is now popular to see globalization as the spread
   of a homogeneous political economy that challenges
   the legitimacy and efficacy of the nation-state. This
   political economy is attended by a cultural
   hegemony characterized as Westernization or
   Americanization. But resistance to such
   globalization is not limited to a reassertion of the
   boundaries of the nation-state or protest actions by
   cosmopolitan social movements. Another group of
   texts points to diasporic Chinese networks as an
   authentically Asian form of globalization. The
   Chinese diaspora is said to have its own highly
   successful "culture of capitalism." Rather than
   pointing to a global political economy, many now
   talk of a distinct Chinese modernity that has its own
   unique economic culture (p. 481).

Beyond mere economic might, however, China is developing a strong national identity as a community. Herold (2012), cites Anderson's argument that:
   members of such imagined communities created
   their communities through communication, without
   necessarily knowing each other, and that their shared
   imaginations were powerful enough to create the
   concept of nation ... His arguments suggested that
   a study of the communicative practices of a group
   can be used to identify them as a community, as well
   as to identify the community's main parameters ...
   (p. 40).

Given this rationale, Herold examines the communicative practices employed on the website chinaSMACK ( as
   an example of an attempt to create an online, cross-cultural
   community to further the mutual
   understanding between Chinese and non-Chinese.
   The site has become one of the most visited English-language
   websites about China ... It is argued that
   the site has achieved the opposite of what its'
   founders intended. Instead of building a bridge
   between Chinese and non-Chinese, the site is
   emphasizing differences, and 'defining' Chineseness
   as an expression of the shared imagination of its
   users (p. 39).

Thus, this communication channel provides the means for Chinese to define the nation by creating "China" via their shared understanding.


Economic issues play an important role in shaping a nation's identity. A February 24, 2000, article in The Economist argues that the policies of then President Fernando Henrique Cardoso had led to a rapid influx of foreign investment by multinational corporations. This action not only helped end Brazil's current-account deficit, but also helped to make industry and services more competitive. Such actions were not without their critics, as some Brazilians raised fears that their country was losing control of its destiny.

National identity is also rooted in the arts. In an article entitled Modern Nationalism and the Search for a Brazilian Identity, Toni and Fresca (2013) in tracing the evolution of Brazilian music describe the role of music in reflecting the Brazilian nationality.

Consistent with Anderson's (1991, 2006) thesis, Porto (2011) conducted a textual analysis of the representations of national identify in the telenovelas (soap operas) of TV Globo, Brazil's dominating media conglomerate. Analyzing examples from the last four decades, Porto (2011) argues that they build compelling visions of the nation through "microcosms," the imagined locations in which the stories take place. A broad process of political, economic, and social changes has been reflected in the localized representations of the nation as the telenovelas have helped to shape these processes and endow them with new meanings, thus highlighting the linkages between television fiction and the dilemmas of the new democracy (Porto, 2011).


The collapse of the Soviet Union as a result of the dissolution of the communist bloc meant that many countries had to renegotiate their national identities, causing them to reconsider and reinterpret their historical and cultural heritages (Haskins, 2009). Typically, national monuments serve as aesthetic representations of the dominant vision of history and collective identity, but they can also generate competing views of the past they are intended to reflect. Haskins (2009) argues that the changing symbolic power of a unique national monument--the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow--has played a key role in the reimagining of post-communist Russia's national identity. Tracing the cathedral's construction under tsars, destruction under Stalin, and the post-communist rebuilding she argues that the monument justifies a particular version of national identity.

Again consistent with Anderson's (1991, 2006) thesis, Mikhailova (2011) analyzed electronic letters to the editor on the coverage of the 2006 riot in Kondopoga and the 2010 bombings in the Moscow subway as a source for popular opinion on national identity and ethnic conflicts in Russia. He argues that the concept of the civic nation is not yet well understood or accepted by Russian citizens; rather the ethnic understanding of Russian still prevails. The basis for the new identity of a civic nation, as presented in the letters, lacks common memories, myths, and traditions that would resonate strongly in popular imagination. Thus, a transition to a new national identity of a civic nation has yet to be achieved (Mikhailova, 2011).


In the 1991 version of his Imagined Communities, recognizing that there were areas of the world where literacy and print-capitalism were barely present, Anderson introduced a trinity of institutions of power: the map, the museum and the census, as underpinnings of colonial national identity. Cohn (1987) had proposed that the British colonial census played an important role in South Asian identity formation--a position strengthened since, unlike the map and the museum, the census was an event that every adult male would encounter during his lifetime. Guha (2003), who examines the politics of identity and enumeration in India 1600-1990, notes that while enumeration is often assumed to be a crucial process in state-building and identity formation, since units have to be defined and identified before they can be counted, enumeration is inextricably dependent upon identity. He argues that local communicative processes renew and conserve community identities, which impact the political processes that generate officially recognized public communities. Thus, communication is linked to national identity. Guha's (2003) conclusion is consistent with Anderson's (1991) general thesis: "In general, better communications and the creation of an all-India political arena have led to aggregation and massification as electoral significance came to depend upon reaching rising thresholds of political visibility" (p. 167).

South Africa

Following the 1994 election and the end of apartheid, South Africa had to reinvent itself. Peberby (2001) argues that the reinvention:
   has been shaped by the state's construction of a new
   South African national identity. No longer based on
   race, primordial ethnicities, or color and religion, the
   new state has laid the foundations of a national
   identity based on a shared if divided history. Notions
   of democracy, human rights, and constitutional
   guarantees and protections are part of an inclusive
   citizenship (p. 29).

Thus, for South Africa, a new national identity has arisen from the actions not only of the members but also as a result of actions of the state. However, Mare (2005), for one, argues that "the state cannot be the sole site of democracy, should not be the sole arbiter on the nation, and certainly not on what constitutes patriotism" (p. 526).

The purpose of this study is therefore to test the relationships of media consumption and religiosity with national identity as well as the relationships between national identity, pride, and global identity, using the BRICS and the US as a representative of a variety of countries. Among exploring other interesting relationships, it foremost tests the following hypotheses and research questions:

H1: Media use is positively related to a) national identity and b) global identity.

RQ1: Is media use associated with national pride?

RQ2: Are religion variables associated with a) national identity, b) national pride, and c) global identity?

RQ3: Is national identity associated with a) national pride and b) global identify?


The study used data from four of the BRICS countries (Russia was left from the analysis because not all the key questions have been asked in the survey there) and the US in the fifth wave of the World Values Survey (WVS, accessible through, which was conducted in 2006-2007 worldwide and had 9753 complete responses. The data was weighted with the "weight" value created by WVS to better reflect the populations in those five counties. After the weighting, the sample size was 7096.


National identity. WVS asked respondents to rate a statement "I see myself as a citizen of my (country) nation" on a scale from 1 (= strongly agree) to 4 (strongly disagree). The data were reversely coded. The question, measuring one's attachment to the nation, is widely used to gauge national identities (Norris, 2000; Rizzo, Abdel-Latif, & Meyer, 2007).

National pride. The survey asked respondents how proud they were of their nationalities (1 = very proud; 4 = not at all proud. Reversely coded).

Global identity. The survey also asked respondents to indicate how much they agreed to see themselves as a citizen of the world (1 = Strongly agree; 4 = strongly disagree. Data reversely coded).

Media use. The survey asked if respondents used daily newspaper, news broadcasts on radio or TV, printed magazines, in-depth reports on radio or TV, books, or Internet/email last week to obtain information about what is going on in their countries and the world (1 = yes, 0 = no. Using all items to compile an index, a = .71, M = 2.47, SD = 1.73, N = 6935).

Religion variables. Three questions about religion in the survey were used. The first question asked how important religion was in the respondents' life (1 = very important; 4 = not at all important. Reversely coded). The second question asked how often respondents attended religious services (1 = more than once a week; 8 = never. Reversely coded). The third question asked how important God was in the respondents' life (translated into different gods in different countries. 1 = not important at all; 10 = very important.) Since the reliability test showed that the three questions could not be compiled into an index, they were treated as separate variables in the analyses.

To make sure that the relationships we would identify through the test were not superficial, necessary control variables were created and included in the models. Among them were:

Life satisfaction. WVS asked how satisfied the respondents were with their lives (1 = dissatisfied; 10 = satisfied). Life satisfaction was controlled to leverage the influence of respondents' psychological and behavioral involvements in the society in the formation of their national and global identities.

Postmaterialism. Inglehart (1990) created an index of postmaterialistic value in WVS. The index consisted of 12 items that identified what types of goals respondents had for their countries. The index had been carefully tested and widely used as the measurement of postmaterialism, with higher values emphasizing more on freedom, self-expression, and human rights (Yao, 2008; Liu, 2012). Postmaterialistic value was under control because it might influence people's feeling of belongings.

Confidence in the political system. This variable included questions about confidence in the press, the television, the police, the parliament, the civil services, the government, the political parties, and the justice system (a = .89, M = 21.07, SD = 5.47, N = 5307). For each question, 1 = a great deal, and 4 = no confidence at all. Answers to all those questions were recoded. Confidence in the existing political system was controlled because it might also have an influence on respondents' national and global identities.

Interests in politics. The survey measured respondents' interest in politics with a four-point scale (1 = very interested; 4 = not at all interested). The scale was reversely coded so that higher values represented higher level of interest in politics.

Gender (dummy variable with male = 1), age, education (1 = inadequately completed elementary education; 8 = university with degree), and income (1 = lower step; 10 = tenth step, calculated within each country) were also controlled in the analyses. Four dummy variables about countries (Brazil = 1, China = 1, India = 1, and US = 1. South Africa was used as the reference group) were also created and put in the analyses to partial out the differences across the five countries.


Three multiple OLS regression models were run to test the hypotheses and research questions (See Table 1). H1 predicts that media use is positively related to a) national identity and b) global identity. In the regression model of national identity on media use, religion variables, and controlling variables, media use did have a positive coefficient (B = .02, SE = .007, [beta] = .04, p = .026). A regression model of global identity on national identity, media use, religion factors, and other socioeconomic and demographic variables under control also showed media use's positive contribution to a global identity (B = .04, SE = .02, [beta] = .05, [beta] = .019). H1 a) and b) are supported.

RQ1 explores the relationship between media use and national pride. The regression model of national pride on national identity, media use, religion variables and all other control variables showed no relationship between media use and national pride.

RQ2 explores the relationships of the religion variables with a) national identity, b) national pride, and c) global identity. Religiosity is measured with three separate variables in this study. Perceptions of religion (B = .04, SE = .01, [beta] = .06, p = .004) and God/gods (B = .01, SE = .004, [beta] = .06, p = .004) as important in one's life were both positively related to one's national identity. The frequency of attending religious services, nevertheless, was a negative predictor of national identity (B = -.01, SE = .004, [beta] = -.04, p = .017).

As for national pride, it was positively associated with perceiving religion (B = .06, SE = .01, [beta] = .08, p < .001) and (B = .02, SE = .005, [beta] = .08, p < .001) as important in life, but seemingly negatively associated with religion attendance (B = -.009, SE = .005, [beta] = -.03, p = .051), with the negative association close to being statistically significant.

Global identity is positively associated with perceiving religion as important in life (B = .04, SE = .02, [beta] = .05, p = .019) and religion attendance (B = .02, SE = .006, [beta] = .06, p = .001). Believing in God/gods as important in life, however, negatively correlated with global identity (B = -.01, SE = .006, [beta] = -.04, p = .033).

RQ3 explores the national identity's relationship with a) national pride and b) global identify. National identity was found a major predictor of national pride (B = .27, SE = .02, [beta] = .23, p < .001). It also positively predicted global identity (B = .24, SE = .02, [beta] = .19, p < .001).

In addition to testing the hypotheses and research questions, other control variables' relationships with national identity, national pride and global identity were also examined. Postmaterialism, a value exalting freedom, self-expression, and human rights, was negatively associated with both national identity (B = -.03, SE = .008, [beta] = -.06, p < .001) and national pride (B = -.06, SE = .009, [beta] = -.09, p < .001), but positively contributed to the construction of a global identity (B = .05, SE = .01, [beta] = .08, p < .001). Confidence in the political establishments such as the government, the parliament, the press, the police, etc., positively correlated with national identity (B = .01, SE = .002, [beta] = .09, p < .001), national pride (B = .02, SE = .002, [beta] = .14, p < .001), and global identity (B = .01, SE = .003, [beta] = .10, p < .001). Interest in politics was positively associated with the global identity (B = .03, SE = .01, [beta] = .04, p = .018) but had no relationship with national identity and pride. Life satisfaction was not related to national and global identities but clearly contributed to national pride (B = .03, SE = .005, [beta] = .10, p < .001).

Among the demographic factors, age was positively correlated with both national identity (B = .003, SE = .001, [beta] = .07, p < .001) and national pride (B = .002, SE = .001, [beta] = .05, p = .002) but not associated with global identity. Education was positively associated with national identity (B = .02, SE = .005, [beta] = .09, p < .001) but negatively associated with national pride (B = -.02, SE = .006, [beta] = -.06, p = .001), and had no relationship with global identity. Income was only negatively associated with national identity (B = -.02, SE = .005, [beta] = -.06, p < .001). Among the countries in the study, compared with respondents from other countries, Brazilian citizens tend to have lower national identity (B = -.27, SE = .04, [beta] = -.21, p < .001) and national pride (B = -.46, SE = .05, [beta] = -.30, p < .001), while Indian citizens tended to have higher national identity (B = .18, SE = .04, [beta] = .12, p < .001) but no difference in national pride. Chinese and US citizens showed no difference in national identity but both had a lower tendency in being proud of their nationalities (for Chinese citizens, B = -.51, SE = .06, [beta] = -.17, p < .001; for US citizens, B = -.10, SE = .05, [beta] = -.06, p = .03), with Chinese citizen's tendency for national pride being even about three times lower. Citizens of all four countries included in the model showed a lower tendency in having a global identity (For Brazil, B = -.16, SE = .06, p = -.10, p = .004; for China, B = -.26, SE = .07, p = -.08, p < .001; for India, B = -.26, SE = .06, p = -.14, p < .001; and for US, B = -.42, SE = .06, p = -.25, p < .001), compared with citizens of all the other countries in analysis, including South Africa as the reference group.


Using the data of the fifth wave of the World Values Survey from five countries (Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and US), this study provides an empirical test of the theory of mass media contributing to the construction of national identities (Anderson, 1991, 2006; McLuhan, 1962/2002, 1964) with religion related factors and other demographical variables controlled. The study also explores the relationship between national identity and global identity.

Consuming information from the mass media, as pointed out by Anderson (1991, 2006) and other scholars studying the construction of a mass society (e.g., Mihelj, 2011; Mutz, 1998), helps citizens in a large society acquire knowledge about their fellow citizens of whom they have no other way to know. A sense of community is therefore established among mass media consumers. The sense of community is not only helpful in the construction of the national identity; it also helps cultivate the feeling of belonging to the international community, fostering an identity of being a citizen of the world. It is noticeable that, although media use positively contributes to the identification of being a citizen of both the nation and the world, it does not help enhance one's feeling of being proud of one's nationality. This is possibly because information conveyed through mass media is mostly about negative issues such as crisis, crimes, and problems (Hargrave & Livingston, 2009). Consuming such information from the mass media may urge people to participate in the public discourse of finding solutions to the issues, therefore forging a national identity. It may also help forge a global identity if some information consumed is about issues at the global range, such as international pedantic diseases and global climate change. But such information can hardly make people feel proud of their nations. National pride seems more likely to be something built on the base of characteristics such as life satisfaction and confidence in the existing political system.

Religion's functions in the establishment of national identity seem complex. Apparently the three religion variables do not measure the same thing, as shown in the low reliability when they are compiled into one index. Recognizing religion as important in one's life has positive relationships with all three dependent variables in study: national identity, national pride, and global identity. This recognition seems to help form a sense of community and at the same time make people feel good about their lives. Recognizing God/gods as important in one's life increases his or her national identity and national pride, but decreases global identity, appearing to be stronger in shaping national in-group identification. This might be because the naming of the specific God/gods reminds religion followers their specific religious groups. Religion attendance, quite opposite to thinking God/gods as important in life, decreases national identity and national pride but increases global identity. Although often used as a generic measure of religiosity, religion attendance is more like a measurement of the effort of networking, conversation participation, or even personal appearance, sense of obligation, and need for social support (Wright, Frost, & Wisecarver, 1993). Demographic characteristics may interact with church attendance. Mitchell and Weatherly (2000) note that religion is pronounced as more important in everyday life by the older female African Americans, but the younger female African Americas attend church more frequently. Putnam (2001) also finds that Americans married with kids are most frequent church attenders, but they tend to volunteer more in secular activities and less in religious events. Religions are multifaceted: some perspectives may foster a national or global identity; some may impede it. More research is indeed needed to deepen the understanding of the mechanism behind religions' influence on national and global identities.

It is interesting to find out that Arnason's (2002) concern that national identity may hurt global identity is not supported with this dataset. National identity, at least in those five examples of developing and developed countries, has a moderately positive association with global identity, even with many related variables under control. The positive relationship suggests that national identity and global identity are based on the similar psychological mechanisms, the need for a social identity. National identity, as Anderson (1991, 2006) implies, accumulated from people's identification with smaller groups or geographical areas, the so-called provincialism. When mass media extend the boundary of people's knowledge territory, people's identification boundary is also extended. National identity came with the prevalence of the usage of print media (Anderson, 2006), which enables the information flow within a nation. Now the globalization of the information flow is gradually cultivating the global identity. Robertson's (2010) argument that the globalization of news happens within the frame and predisposition of the nationhood is to some degree confirmed.

Although this study uses a cross-section data, judging from the associations of postmaterialism with national identity, national pride, and global identity, one may still tell that global identity, instead of the national identity, is trended to increase. Inglehart (1990) finds that postmaterialism has been more embraced by the younger generation, who grow up taking survival for granted. Once people form postmaterialism when they are young, they are not likely to switch back to materialism when they age. Liu (2012) has extended Inglehart's (1990) finding to developing societies such as China, where younger generations have much stronger postmaterialism than older generations, compared with those in the US. Postmaterialism, this study finds, is associated positively with global identity but negatively with national identity and national pride. The evidence suggests that younger generations with higher level of postmaterialism are more likely to identify themselves as a citizen of the world rather than of a specific nation. As supporting evidence, the variable of age is also positively associated with national identity and pride, although it is not related with global identity. That is to say, national identity and national pride decrease among the younger generations, which is consistent with the suggestion from the variable of postmaterialism.

Some country-specific observations of Anderson (2006) are also confirmed in this study. Anderson notices that, compared with other Latin American countries, Brazilian national identity has been developed late and idiosyncratically. The study shows that Brazilians are about 20% less likely to acknowledge themselves being a citizen of Brazil and 30% less likely to be proud of having a Brazilian nationality. Citizens of India, maybe due to the colonial education efforts (Anderson, 2006), have a higher level of national identity, although they are not necessarily prouder of their nationality. Citizens of China are not different in national identity, compared with citizens of other countries in analysis, but they have a lower level of national pride, seemingly only higher than that of citizens of Brazil. A point that needs further exploration and explanation is that, even though citizens of Brazil and China have lower levels of national identities or prides, their global identities are not really higher than citizens of other countries.

With the high-quality data and related variables controlled, relationships identified from this study should be robust and reliable. However, limitations should be kept in mind when interpreting the findings. First of all, the data are cross-sectional. They facilitate analyses of correlations but provide little information about time order between variables. Meanwhile, although the three multiple regression models control enough possible confounding variables to ensure that the relationships identified are not superficial, the coefficients of determination of those models are not substantially high, and so a large portion of variation of the dependent variables remains unexplained. Finding those variables that significantly increase the coefficients of determination can itself be a topic for another study. But we are aware that once such variables are found and added to the models, some relationships that we have identified in this study may be changed, due to moderation or mediation effects and the relatively small standard coefficients of some variables in the regression models. Finally, in an effort of generating theoretical understanding of the roles of media use and religiosity in the formation of national identity and pride, we inevitably abstractize the conceptualizations of the variables in questions across the BRICS countries and the US, filtering off the possible differences across those nation states.

Qingjiang (Q. J.) Yao, Lamar University

Carrol Haggard, Fort Hays State University

Correspondence to:

Qingjiang (Q. J.) Yao, Ph.D.

Department of Communication

Lamar University

P.O. Box 10050

Beaumont, TX 77710



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Table 1: Multiple Linear Regressions of National
Identity, National Pride, and Global Identity on Media
Religion Variables, and Controlling Variables

                       National Identity

                       B          SE     [beta]

Age                    .003 ***   .001   .07
Gender (M = 1)         .02        .02    .02
Education              .02 ***    .005   .09
Income                 -.02 ***   .005   -.06
Brazil = 1             -.27 ***   .04    -.21
China = 1              -.001      .06    -.001
India = 1              18 ***     .04    .12
US = 1                 .04        .04    .03
Interest in Politics   .006       .01    .01
Postmaterialism        -.03 ***   .008   -.06
Confidence in          .01 ***    .002   .09
  Political System
Life Satisfaction      .003       .005   .01
Media Use              .02 *      .007   .04
Religion Important     .04 **     .01    .06
Religion Attendance    -.01 *     .004   -.04
God Important          .01 **     .004   .06
National Identity      --         --     --
Constant               3.0 ***    .08

Model Info             [R.sup.2] = .14; Adj.
                       [R.sup.2] = .14; N = 3645

                       National Pride

                       B          SE     B

Age                    .002 **    .001   .05
Gender (M = 1)         .03        .02    .02
Education              -.02 ***   .006   -.06
Income                 .008       .005   .02
Brazil = 1             -.46 ***   .05    -.30
China = 1              -.51 ***   .06    -.17
India = 1              -.02       .05    -.01
US = 1                 -.10 *     .05    -.06
Interest in Politics   .01        .01    .01
Postmaterialism        -.06 ***   .009   -.09
Confidence in          .02 ***    .002   .14
  Political System
Life Satisfaction      .03 ***    .005   .10
Media Use              .002       .008   .004
Religion Important     .06 ***    .01    .08
Religion Attendance    -.009      .005   -.03
God Important          02 ***     .005   .08
National Identity      27 ***     .019   .23
Constant               1.8 ***    .11

Model Info             [R.sup.2] = .25; Adj.
                       [R.sup.2] = .24; N = 3628

                       Global Identity

                       B          SE     B

Age                    -.001      .001   -.03
Gender (M = 1)         -.04       .03    -.02
Education              -.01       .007   -.03
Income                 -.004      .006   -.009
Brazil = 1             -.16 **    .06    -.10
China = 1              -.26 ***   .07    -.08
India = 1              -.26 ***   .06    -.14
US = 1                 -.42 ***   .06    -.25
Interest in Politics   .03 *      .01    .04
Postmaterialism        .05 ***    .01    .08
Confidence in          .01 ***    .003   .10
  Political System
Life Satisfaction      .002       .006   .005
Media Use              .03 **     .009   .06
Religion Important     .04 *      .02    .05
Religion Attendance    .02 **     .006   .06
God Important          -.01 *     .006   -.04
National Identity      .24 ***    .02    .19
Constant               1.86 ***   .13

Model Info             [R.sup.2] = .09; Adj.
                       [R.sup.2] = .09;

Notes: 1. To keep the analysis rigorous, the
conservative way of handling missing data, excluding listwise, was
adopted, thus resulting in the change in the sample sizes.

2. *** means p [less than or equal to] .001; ** means p
[less than or equal to] .01; * means p [less than or equal to] .05.
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Author:Yao, Qingjiang "Q.J."; Haggard, Carrol
Publication:China Media Research
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Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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