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The Mental Map of National Hierarchy in Europe

Publication Abstract

Swindle, Jeffrey, Shawn F. Dorius, and Attila Melegh. Forthcoming. "The Mental Map of National Hierarchy in Europe." SocArXiv

Cultural schemas inform people's perceptions of the hierarchical order of nations. We theorise that longstanding, western-centric schemas of development and cultural wealth are especially foundational in perceptions of national hierarchy. We examine European publics' evaluations of their own and other European countries across many attributes using data from the Nation Brands Index surveys. We find that European publics rank northwest European countries highest on developmental attributes and southwestern European nations highest on attributes of cultural wealth, while they rank eastern European countries lowest in both categorisations. Moreover, we show that publics' rankings of countries load to two related but distinct factors, the contents of which closely reflect schemas of development and cultural wealth. This evidence suggests that these two distinct schemas are simultaneously present in Europeans' perceptions of national hierarchy.


national hierarchy, Europe, developmental idealism, cultural wealth

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