Urban identity versus national identity in the global city: Evidence from six European cities

Gil Shaham-Maymon*, Noam Brenner, Paz Yaacov, Dan Miodownik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the prioritization of urban identity over national identity in the context of the global city. Scholars have extensively discussed the fragmentation of national identity among individuals in the globalized world, and the relative proliferation of other communal identities, whether more cosmopolitan or place-based. As globalization gradually erodes the cultural distinctiveness of nation states, cities are revealed as arenas within which inhabitants nurture a particular collective character, which is used as an attractive source of local, communal belonging. Global cities, in particular, are a compelling case to inquire into the interplay between national and urban identity. Due to their relative independence vis-à-vis the state, the global city can promote the values shared by inhabitants while constituting significant competition for nation-based self-determination and providing a unique source of urban identity that is simultaneously cosmopolitan and place-based. In this paper we ask whether city-zens living in highly globalized cities are more likely to prioritize their urban identity over their national identity. Utilizing the GaWC Index of cities’ globalization levels, we analyze the results of an original survey conducted among residents of six European cities: Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Utrecht and Glasgow. Our empirical evidence supports the hypothesis that in globalized cities a higher level of globalism accords with a more explicit tendency to prioritize urban identity over national identity. In conclusion, we interpret this evidence as an identities trade-off that challenges the coexistence of urban and national identities within globalized cities, discussing its implications for future studies of contemporary politics.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). European Journal of Political Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Consortium for Political Research.

Keywords

  • European cities
  • global cities
  • national identity
  • urban identity

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