Date of Award
Master of Science
Micheline van Riemsdijk
Derek H. Alderman, Monica Black
The cultural-linguistic divide that separates Belgium’s two main ethnic groups, the Walloons and the Flemings, has contributed to a national identity crisis. The tension between the groups is often blamed on their cultural-linguistic differences. However, the political parties have also influenced Belgian identity. There are historical, political, and economic factors that have provided the political parties substantial influence over national identity in Belgium. Since the parties are regionally based, the regions have affected territorial identity. Consequently, attachment to the nation has significantly declined among Belgians. Political party power is all too often ignored. This key factor is usually overshadowed by the fact that Belgium’s citizens speak three different languages. While language has certainly been a divisive issue in Belgium, political parties also contribute to identity formation in Belgium. This study investigates the history, regions, politics, and economy of Belgium that have provided, and continue to provide, the opportunities for political parties to mobilize regional identity.
Izquierdo, Jose Manuel, "Belgian identity politics: At a crossroad between nationalism and regionalism. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2014.