Date of Award

Spring 1995

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Bud B Khleif


This dissertation explores the reproduction and ideological legitimization of the nation-state in the eyes of successive generations. There are two components to this study. The first is a socio-historical analysis of the formation of nation-state ideology, a formation which seems to necessitate creation of "in-groups" and "out-groups." It is a socio-historical analysis of victimization, of the tendency to justify colonialism, expansionism, imperialism, and brutality to outsiders.

The second component of this study is concerned with how the ideology of the nation-state regarding nationalism, patriotism, and especially classification of enemy groups, is reproduced and legitimized for future generations. For this purpose, I conducted 142 in-depth interviews with children aged 7 through 14. I asked them open-ended questions about kind and unkind behavior on the international, national, and interpersonal level.

An overall, rather expected, finding of this study is that children tend to internalize the status quo. This is done through their embracement of national symbols, attachment to political authority, and glorification of "our" way as the "best" way. It can be said that the ideological hegemony of the dominant group is perpetuated and legitimized through the larger agencies of socialization: the mass media, political slogans and campaigns, schools, religion, and parents. Children are sensitized to groups that differ, a reflection of what is known as the "dominator model," that is, one which evaluates differences in terms of inferior or superior, as opposed to the "partnership model," which evaluates differences in more pluralistic terms. Many of the responses of children indicate that the world would be better off if every group were to run things as we do in the United States--a testament to the effective socialization of these children. Many children believe that our political system and ideology are superior to those of others. On the interpersonal level, children seem to be aware of social stratification in their schools, namely, the system of ranking groups on the basis of such social attributes as class, race, gender, or physical appearance--which some considered wrong, but acknowledged that either they had witnessed or taken part in this classification.