Comtemporary Northern Irish Society: An Introduction by Colin Coulter

By Colin Coulter

It is a severe evaluate of many of the assets of social and political identification in Northern eire. The ebook examines the foremost variables of sociology - prestige, type and gender and, consequently, ethno-religion - and explains why ethno-religious sentiment has turn into the main resource of political identification. various subject matters are lined: the function and standing of girls; the representations of the clash and peace method within the media; activity; and the significance of well known song.

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This has been true at both club and international level. Local soccer in the province has been traditionally dominated by teams based in Belfast. Patterns of football allegiance in the regional capital have inevitably betrayed the existence of territorial and ethnopolitical loyalties. The intense competition that exists between Belfast clubs often acknowledges the divergent ethnoreligious composition of their followers. Historically one of the keenest rivalries within the Irish League was that between Linfield, whose supporters are overwhelmingly loyalists, and Belfast Celtic, whose fans were almost all nationalists.

The manner in which Irish is regarded and treated – not least by the British government – has come to represent for many nationalists a ready metaphor for their status as an ethnopolitical community. Attempts from whatever quarter to disparage the language are read as a slight against self even by those Catholics who have no particular interest in becoming Irish speakers. The disposition of the unionist community towards the Irish language tends to be rather less sympathetic. In the minds of Protestants living in the six counties, Irish constitutes the linguistic expression of a cultural tradition and a political enterprise that are both profoundly alien.

Political violence proves, therefore, to be a highly problematic barometer of nationalist sentiment in the context of the six counties. That many people, both Catholic and Protestant, have been willing to take up arms – both legal and illegal – to defend or subvert the constitutional status of Northern Ireland suggests the depth of feeling that nationalism frequently inspires. While acts of violence may articulate the nationalist feeling of many people living in the province they also prove to be profoundly abhorrent to many other social actors who could equally well be considered nation- THE NATURE OF DIVISION 45 alists, whether of the Irish or British varieties.

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