Cross-national interaction and cultural similarity: A relational analysis

Bart Bonikowski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The study examines the relationship between the structure of cross-national relations and the dyadic cultural similarity of 19 countries over 10 years, based on the assumption that patterns of interaction between state, private sector, and civil society actors influence national cultures. The relations analyzed include trade, military alliances, IGO memberships, phone calls, and military conflicts. The findings demonstrate that cross-national interactions, particularly trade and IGO memberships, are strong predictors of cultural similarity that complement the modernizing effects of economic development. In addition to explaining variation in cultural similarity between country dyads, the study challenges primordialist approaches to comparative cultural research that rely on civilizational country classifications. Instead, systematic measures of religious tradition, geographic region, linguistic heritage, and imperial history are used to identify factors that shape countries' dyadic cultural similarities. Of these, only membership in former empires is a significant predictor of cultural similarity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)315-348
    Number of pages34
    JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2010


    • civilizations
    • cultural globalization
    • international networks
    • postmaterialism
    • world polity institutionalism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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