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The Orange Order Fraternity formed 1795 in Northern Ireland

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Presentation on theme: "The Orange Order Fraternity formed 1795 in Northern Ireland"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Orange Order and British Protestant Ethnicity: A Comparative Perspective

2 The Orange Order Fraternity formed 1795 in Northern Ireland
Stands for loyalty to British Crown & Protestantism Political Protestantism, NOT evangelical Protestantism. More ethnic than religious. Associative cornerstone of British-Protestant ethnicity in several places Britannic ethno-nationalist Rapid international spread

3 ESRC Research Fellowship focuses on dominant ethnicity and social change Issue of how ethnic cores of nations deal with liberal modernity and globalisation Orange Order as the associational glue behind dominant ethnicity in N.I., Canada, W.C. Scotland Devolution Programme Grant looks at Orange-UUP link in Northern Ireland

4 Main Research Questions
What factors cause per capita Orange membership strength to rise and fall over time and across place? (social question) How effective is the Orange Order in determining policy change, and why does its power rise and fall over time and place? (political question)

5 Research Methodology Quantitative: Compare Orange membership among Protestants with variables from census, police reports, history, polls. Over time and across county and ‘province’ (N.I., Scotland, Nfld., Ontario) Qualitative: Compare Orange resolutions and organised political activity over time and place. Look at class profile of elite and membership over time. Interviews. Sources: Previously unseen internal documents; census, polls, violence stats, valuation rolls, some newspapers

6 Current Presentation Will focus on quantitative research since that has been initial thrust Happy to answer technical and qualitative questions as well

7 Analysis of Variation in Membership Patterns
International Patterns (v. Canada, Scotland) Variation over Time in Northern Ireland Variation by County in Northern Ireland Inter-Fraternal Patterns (v. Masons, IOOF) Theories of Change Results of Statistical Analyses


9 Concentrated in Ontario, NB & Nfld



12 Current Trends in N.I. Orange Membership, 1966-2001



15 Membership Decline by County, 1961-2001

16 Inter-County Patterns, N.I. Orangeism
General decline since membership peak in early 1960’s (mid-Ulster), or 50’s (East) Height of the ‘Troubles’ ( ) boosted membership temporarily, as did Anglo-Irish Agreement and Drumcree However, general trend is a steady decline Urban areas suffer heavier declines, even taking into account population flows.

17 International Orange Similarities
All jurisdictions experience growth until the 1920’s All decline in the Depression years All experience growth after World War II All experience steady decline in recent decades N.I; Scotland 1; Scotland 2 ; Ontario; Newfoundland





22 International Differences
Membership decline sets in as early as the 1920’s in Canada and decline in the period is sharper Membership decline in the post-1960 period has been quicker in Canada, while Northern Ireland and Scotland have declined at similar steady rates

23 Inter-Fraternal Patterns
Orange Order has withstood post-1970 declines better than Masonic NI2 Inter-County Patterns in Masonic match those of Orange NI3





28 Summary Great deal of similarity in shape of historical patterns of membership across nations and fraternities Great deal of difference between places and fraternities in terms of slope of rise/decline in membership

29 Theories of Fraternal Change
Beito: Decline in 1920’s as welfare state emerges Emery: Decline in 1920’s or 30’s due to private insurance and expanded recreational options Putnam: Depression caused decline, WWII boosted membership. Differences in ‘Social Capital’ between Generations explains most of post-1960 decline. Culturalist: Decline of Protestant Religiosity (Bruce?), Decline of Loyalty to Crown, Decline of British-Protestant Ethnic Identity, Ecumenism

30 Preliminary Research: Qualitative
Based on Interviews & Reports Leaders and Rank-and-file members point to structural forces But nearly all admit cultural pressures Also speak of role of events Institutional changes not seen as significant by members - though leaders think otherwise Qualitative evidence inconclusive

31 Preliminary Statistical Tests – Across County
NI: Catholic Population is by far the most important determinant. Economic factors not important ( ). Denomination key: % RC and %Other Protestant increase membership; %Methodist and % Presbyterian strongly decrease it.

32 Quantitative Analysis: Scotland and Canada
SCT: Catholic population most important determinant, as with NI case. Irish born population of fifty years ago is also very important. All other factors pale in comparison. (for ) ONT: No strong factor - Irish Protestant population most powerful. Proportion Irish, French or Catholic has limited effect. ( )


34 ‘Some News columnists have written us off and even gloat over what they term “our demise.” Even one church paper joined in the glee. - Grand Master Gordon Keyes, 1970 “As the population changed its opinions, we got less good press in the newspapers.” - Toronto Orangeman, 1999.

35 Preliminary Statistical Tests – Across Time
Denominational balance (esp. rise of Methodism and Other Protestant sects) important during Orangeism in N.I. responded to RC population growth until 1970, but not since then Political events (Troubles, Peace Agreements, Drumcree) have been a factor in N.I. post-1970 Rate of Protestant fatalities have had little impact in N.I. since 1970 High-school education appears correlated with membership decline in Ontario during Still more work needed in this and other areas

36 Conclusion Orangeism was a worldwide movement though strongest in Ulster and eastern Canada Orangeism’s rise owed a lot to inter-ethnic conflict with a Catholic ethnie. Relatively Catholic counties in N.I. and Scotland have far more ‘Orange’ Protestants

37 Conclusion II The role of economic change is minimal during the period in all areas The role of events is only truly important in N.I. – especially in the post-Troubles period Strong evidence against ‘contact’ hypothesis No real answer as to why Orangeism in decline Evidence appears to support Putnam thesis, though more work needed with respect to generation, as well as time-series analysis

38 Further Research Inclusion of 1971-2001 census data
Time Series Analysis using Opinion polls from post-1969 period Examination of Initiations, as well as Junior and Female trends Qualitative Research on Political Strength


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