Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Shulman, Stephen

Abstract

What is the influence that state-level nationalism exerts on dynamics of threat perception? The primary goal of this research is to investigate in what ways and to what extent state-level nationalism is used as an indicator of states’ intentions by governments in order to reduce uncertainty about the possible motivations and behaviors of other countries, informing their processes of threat assessment. The main objective of this research is to investigate if the type of state-level nationalism displayed by a specific state (civic/cultural/ethnic) affects the perceptions of threat developed by other countries. The hypothesis advanced here is that the further away a country is from the civic variety of nationalism, the higher the level of threat perception developed by others. In order to assess this hypothesis, a strategy that allies case-study qualitative research with large-scale quantitative analysis is applied. Three comparative case studies are performed, focusing on how the United States, France and Great Britain perceived the changes in the nationalisms of Germany and Italy from 1934 to 1938, and if these changes informed in any way their assessment of threat during the interwar period. In addition to this, the final part of this dissertation encompasses a quantitative analysis designed to look into the main question addressed by this project from a different perspective, in an attempt to seek for the possible objective basis of the threat perceptions investigated in the case studies.

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