Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Micheline van Riemsdijk

Committee Members

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.

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