Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Emily Hauptmann

Second Advisor

Dr. Jacinda Swanson

Third Advisor

Dr. Gunther Hega


Denmark, nationalism, immigration, ethnicity, history

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Increased rates of immigration to Western European states over the past three decades have yielded a wealth of literature in the social sciences, much of which has focused on cases of individuals from so-called ―non-Western‖ countries of origin. Immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia often bring with them cultural and religious traditions that are unfamiliar to the citizens of states which receive them. Tensions between majority populations and growing minorities in Western Europe have resulted in skepticism—and, increasingly, hostility—toward immigrants, particularly those regarded as ―"Islamic."

But is this type of tension inevitable? Are difference and incompatibility really synonymous, as much of the literature seems to suggest? This research examines a single case, Denmark, in order to elucidate the processes by which a country‘s national identity comes to serve as a powerful rallying point in the midst of political uncertainty. Tracing the historical development of Danish nationalism and examining its contemporary persistence reveal a society in which elite political rhetoric has exploited a legacy of ethno-political unity to exclude ―newcomers‖ on the basis of national solidarity. This analysis merges the cultural and the political, as well as the theoretical and the empirical, in its consideration of immigration and nationalism in a Western liberal-democratic state.