In place of a ‘tolerant no more’ narrative, this article proposes a different conception of nationalism's re-articulation in the Dutch context. The salience of nationhood in public and political life, particularly concerning issues of immigration, religion and diversity, is not reconstructed as a backlash against a purported multiculturalism. Instead, attention is given to a re-articulation of the very notion of nationhood. A long-term historical move away from characterology is assessed and applied in understanding the emergence of a national-identity discourse. This discourse not merely embellishes talk of Dutchness with new terms, but indicates – so the articles aim to demonstrate – a different conception of nationhood all together. Apart from what the nation is – about which very little disagreement took place – discussions formed about how Dutchness was imagined and to what extent people themselves were able to form a national image. The emergence of national-identity discourse is empirically reconstructed. Not only is it made clear how a logic of popularity begins to be reiterated across a variety of positionings, but public debate and dissensus acquire a new significance and performativity in the process.

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Keywords character, Dutchness, performativity, public debate, re-articulation
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Journal Nations and Nationalism
van Reekum, R. (2016). Raising the question: articulating the Dutch identity crisis through public debate. Nations and Nationalism, 22(3), 561–580. doi:10.1111/nana.12154