The web page contains the not only a description of individual election manifesto. Although it would be beneficial as such, the main contribution in country as well as regional categorization of political parties perceptions in field of national identity. However the election manifesto are one of key elements reflecting societal and political environment, incorporated country specific issues show how the parties act in “real politics”. How far are parties’ activities reflecting their past experiences, and how far it is a matter of parties’ strategies?
To study national issues need to look at them from various perspectives and be sensible to various contexts and to use various approaches. At the same time it is needed to be aware of the fact that to reflect some perspective does not implicitly mean to build one common picture of understanding the whole issue. We can remind the views of postmodernist, reflectivists or social constructivists to this discussion as well as the different streams and definitions of nation, culture, ethnicity from external social perspective on behalf of some common characters given to them or from the internal perspective of the sense of belonging, in-group and out-group or just personal value distribution to some external categories. To define each of above mentioned categories is hard work because they are very fluid, variable and interlinked with other social, psychological and political phenomena. It is even more complicated in nowadays internationally interlinked and interdependent globalized word when borders are losing their importance in many aspects of social as well as political, and theoretical life.
In the case of political party analysis, this approach refers to the objectivist methods (e.g. Ernst Gellner, or Miroslav Hroch) focusing on historical understanding of the researched state. In this regard, one should consider the specific features of nation-building, such as national revival events and the reflection of these movements by political parties as well as the origin of the (national) states. For this purpose, the election manifestos offer an excellent comparable source. The significant advantage of election manifestos is the developed methodology that aims to establish comparable date for analysis. Therefore, the categories of identity perceptions are provided. As mentioned above, it is highly relevant to pay attention to strategies the parties use. In other words; how the parties attract the electorate to sustain their power. The emphasis is given to the “language” the parties use; it they aim to use the national state building reflection in significant way, if they consider these issues as relevant, or if they attempt to use these phenomena as a key element of their strategy. We consider that the party strategy goes vertically through the strategy tools (e.g. channels of communication with electorate) and party ideology. The electoral success of the party is not purely based on the choice of the right strategy – it does not mean that a less or more ideologized election manifesto is the way to fight an election. Therefore, one should consider political strategies involving identity/belonging as a significant feature. The parties use their tactics to emotionally mobilize the electorate; this understanding can be applied to the parties as a level of emotional mobilization that varies from very low (e.g. liberal parties) to very high (nationalistic and populist parties).
Nationalism, national identity
The term nationalism covers wide scope of definitions that focus mostly on national building processes. The current discussion on use of term nationalism focuses on critical use as a societal and scientifical phenomenon. However, it is difficult to distinguish the clear line between nationalism and national identity, and their use in political process (e.g. in case of election). Therefore, I emphasize the term national identity as a political tool that represents specific environment of the territory. Bell (2003: 69) finds four basic features for study of nationalism regardless of different conceptual approaches: the construction of stories about identity, origins, history and community. He continues in explaining how the representation systems (in these understanding e.g. political parties) are bound to process of national identity formation.
The coding structure (for election campaigns) to investigate the party strategy can follow this typology - the policy of threat involves evoking the sense of existential threat and danger, often using national mythology to create a feeling of unity; the policy of symbolism uses national signs, including national heroes in order to develop a national myth and the clear understanding of the nation's boarders; the policy to secure seeks to develop national culture and traditions and is vigilant against external influences; the policy of pluralism advocates a state that serves all of its citizens and equality of cultures with no declared support for any specific one and the policy of solidarity promotes cultural and ethnic diversity within society and cooperation with other nations. According to Breurilly (1993), it is shown how parties deal with issues related to national identity as powerful policy tool. This approach can be understood as means of gaining votes. The strength of using national identity depends on the specific national environment (e.g. national minorities, historical experience), external influences or economic conditions.
The codes base on main parties’ features:
- how they use the national identity related issues;
- how and if they enhance the unity feeling, if is the unity their goal at al
- evoking a sense of existential threat and danger, using national mythology to create a feeling of unity;
- use national signs, including national heroes, to develop a national myth and a clear understanding of the nation's boarders;
- develop national culture and traditions and is vigilant against external influences;
- serving of state to all of its citizens and equality of cultures with no declared support for any specific one;
- cultural and ethnic diversity within society and cooperation with other nations.