National identity in the era of global migrations

by Rojas Samper Mateo - 5 October, 2022, 12:00 7437 Views 0 Comment

Most researchers agree that even taking into account the development of globalization processes in the world, national identity is preserved, although it undergoes some transformations. There are several main transformations taking place with national identity under the influence of globalization. First, the national identity is gradually expanding, absorbing new features. For the most part, migrants somehow integrate and adapt to the local environment. Adaptation of migrants occurs with the help and support of local residents.

Secondly, migration processes contribute to strengthening the national identity of the country. Migrants, who are perceived as outsiders, contribute to the fact that the indigenous people of the country increasingly identify with their country. G. Ariely cites a number of studies conducted in Canada, Belgium and other countries, which showed that a negative attitude towards migrants contributes to self-identification in the native country. Residents of the country often perceive the behavior of migrants as wrong and unacceptable, which forms a positive attitude towards their people and their country.

  1. Rubinstein and L. Orgad indicate that the desire to preserve national identity in the context of global migration processes is also observed on the part of states. At the same time, often political forces cannot give a clear definition of the features of the country’s national identity and include such popular phenomena as sports, cinema, holidays, etc. in it. However, on the part of many states, there is support for such important phenomena from the point of view of national identity as language, traditional culture, and religion. All this makes it possible to preserve the national identity practically unchanged.

A number of researchers believe that even under the influence of global migration processes, the national identity of the country practically does not change. A. Davidson writes that now migrants, most of whom are refugees, do not have a bright common identity. Such people are, as it were, in a “transitional period” and are gradually losing their sense of self including national identity.

Global migrations do not always lead to the spread of foreign habits and cultural characteristics in the country. Refugees, leaving the state, most often experience dissatisfaction and rejection in relation to its distinctive features. Some of the migrants aim to quickly integrate into the life of a new country and forget about their own national identity. As a result, there is only an increase in the number of people with the national identity of the country.

Thirdly, migration can contribute to the formation of destructive processes of national identity. Some researchers believe that globalization can contribute to the destruction of national identity. Such a concept as “replacement migration” is put forward, that is, migration flows into the country are gradually increasing, while the birth rate among the local population, on the contrary, is falling. As a result, there may be more migrants among the inhabitants of the country than the natives. In the absence of a qualitative mechanism for the adaptation of migrants, the national identity of the country will gradually be replaced by the national identity of migrants and may disappear.

In our opinion, the disappearance of national identity as a person’s sense of self among countries that receive migrants is impossible in the near future. Most modern developed countries are aware of the problems of national identity and the need for adaptation of migrants. Migrants cannot exert significant political pressure on the state or take large-scale repressive measures leading to the loss of the country’s national identity. In addition, migration crises usually contribute to national cohesion within the country.

Despite the fact that migration processes have taken on a global character only recently, the phenomenon of migration itself has existed for many decades. Consequently, the national identity of the majority has always been influenced by migration. Previously, migration processes did not interfere with the formation and development of bright national identities.


Thus, by national identity, we mean a person’s sense of self, a sense of belonging to a particular nation, distinguished by the presence of a single language, culture and traditions, political characteristics, etc. National identity can be subject to change and transformation. The modern world is characterized by the intensification of migration processes that have reached the global level. One way or another, the vast majority of countries in the world are involved in the migration process. Now migration processes are proceeding from south to north: from Asia and Africa to Europe, from Latin America to North America, from Central Asia to Russia. Migrants and the indigenous population of states differ significantly in their linguistic and cultural affiliation, social status, political values, etc.

Global migration processes affect the national identity of a country in different ways. We have identified four main ways in which migrants influence identity. First, it is the transformation of the national identity of the country under the influence of the national identity of migrants. Migrants “bring” their values, religion, traditions, etc. to the country. Secondly, it is the destruction of national identity. With huge migration flows and low birth rates in host countries, the national identity of migrants begins to replace the national identity of the country’s natives. Thirdly, migration can help strengthen the national identity of a country. Alien migrants, their behaviour and culture, awaken national feelings in the indigenous population. Fourth, the impact of migration on a country’s national identity may be minimal for migrants.

Rojas Samper Mateo
Author is a Master’s student - Politics Economics and Philosophy, Higher School of Economics

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