Document Type

Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



Patriotism, as attachment to country, is the value on which most foreign policy attitudes ultimately hinge, yet very little in the academic literature addresses the implications of the way in which the foundations for this attachment are conceived. Two variants of patriotism can be identified: one absolute, the other contingent. For those holding the latter conception, patriotism must be justified by one's country's actions: the greater the approval of one's country's policies, the greater the degree of patriotic attachment that is warranted. For those holding the former conception, patriotism is an absolute and a constant value, and it is reflected in support for one's country when the going gets tough. We seek to understand the circumstances that determine how critical or uncritical a patriot a person would be, given both specific conditions related to the individual and the international situation more generally. Moreover, we are interested in accounting for overall levels of patriotism. We use survey data from the PEW, as well as experimental data, to examine these matters. We find that factors internal to the individual, and not external conditions, determine the kind of patriot one is; at the same time, overall patriotism is found to be influenced by both internal and external circumstances.

Recommended Citation

Miroslav Nincic, Jennifer M. Ramos, The Sources of Patriotism: Survey and Experimental Evidence, Foreign Policy Analysis, Volume 8, Issue 4, October 2012, Pages 373–388,