National identity issues in the new German elites: A study of German university students


Journal Article

This empirical study treats German university students as a rising elite. After discussing the broader sociohistorical context of German national identity in recent decades, this study analyzes (a) students' attitudes and perceptions on issues related to nationalism, national identity, and inclusion, and (b) the extent to which the "Wall in the Mind" as a psychological chasm persists in the new post-cold war generation of West and East Germans. Survey data were obtained from a sample of 544 students at 11 universities in the three areas of Germany: West Germany, East Germany, and Berlin. A major finding on the issue of national identity, as manifested in common symbols and common tasks, is a blurring of regional differences, with no significant differences found by age or gender. Overall, students reject "traditional" nationalism in favor of a "post-national" commitment to transnational values such as human rights and social equality for all. A significant majority feel there is a common German culture and that East and West Germans are forming one people; one whose future lies in being part of the European Union. We conclude there may be an emergent trend among university students of a post-national identity of being German-in-Europe, which warrants further comparative research. © de Sitter Publications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ezell, ED; Seeleib-Kaiser, M; Tiryakian, EA

Published Date

  • August 1, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 280 - 308

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1745-2554

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0020-7152

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/002071520304400401

Citation Source

  • Scopus