Nations and Nationalism vol:20 issue:1 pages:56-79
Belgian-Dutch Political Science Conference edition:11 location:Amsterdam date:31 May-1 June 2012
In this article we examine the steep and unprecedented rise of the New Flemish Alliance (NVA), a Flemish Nationalist party in Belgium, that succeeded in gaining almost 30 per cent of the vote in a couple of years. During this period, a panel survey among 3,025 late adolescents and young adults was conducted. Our analyses suggest that support for a sub-nationalist ideology is far more successful in explaining a subsequent vote for the Nationalist party than vice versa. In terms of supply and demand mechanisms, we find that N-VA has managed to address a pre-existing reservoir of Flemish nationalist voters (demand), rather than attributing to a development of a stronger Flemish identity among its followers (supply). We should therefore not overestimate the constructionist power of (sub-)nationalist political elites for the development of (sub-)nationalist identities.