For administrative reasons there are stateless persons. For sentimental reasons, there are individuals who feel like citizens of the world and proclaim themselves cosmopolitan. Apart from these exceptions, the vast majority of people identify with their homeland.
What does national identity mean?
There is no definitive answer to explain this matter. We could affirm that it is a mixture of feelings , values and cultural traditions .
On an emotional level, we feel part of a people when certain events occur: when listening to the national anthem, when the flag is raised in a patriotic act, when we miss our nation because we are far from it or when we fill ourselves with pride with victory of the athletes of our country.
People from the same place can have discrepancies of all kinds and, despite this, they share a way of understanding life. Each people or nation is made up of men and women who collectively agree on a series of values, ideas and beliefs. It is logical that this is the case, since they all speak the same language, know the same history and have very similar collective experiences.
Cultural traditions play a relevant role in the formation of national identity. If a popular festival has been going on for centuries, it is reasonable that such a celebration becomes a collective sentiment.
The most important thing about this term is that the person has a sense of belonging and feels fully identified with the imprint and qualities that this particular social group has when it comes to perceiving the world around us, developing or spreading their national culture from generation to generation.
A complex matter
Can we have two collective identities? Yes, totally. There are people who feel Catalan and Spanish, Buenos Aires and Argentina, from the Nandi and Kenyan tribe, London and British, etc.
Is it possible to be from a country and at the same time not feel identified with it? Yes, totally. There are Basques who deeply reject everything Spanish, Texans who want their state to become independent from the United States, and Italians from the north who see those from the south as if they were from a different town.
Does it make sense not to feel from nowhere? Yes, it makes sense. For some people, national symbols (flag, anthem …) do not mean anything important, since they feel part of a global project, humanity.
From love to the homeland to nationalistic fanaticism
It seems reasonable that one feels sympathy and attachment to his homeland and everything it represents. However, in some cases the intense love for the country is accompanied by other feelings: hatred of foreigners, contempt for everything that comes from outside or racial, moral or cultural superiority.