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Trinity College Dublin Unionism, Loyalism and Change Reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "Trinity College Dublin Unionism, Loyalism and Change Reconciliation in Northern Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trinity College Dublin Unionism, Loyalism and Change Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

2 Trinity College Dublin Learning outcomes Be able to apply some of our theoretical frameworks (identity, community, ideology) Understand differences between and changes in unionism and loyalism Analyse the relationship between changes in unionism/loyalism and the peace process

3 Trinity College Dublin Key Texts Jon Tonge, Northern Ireland: Conflict and Change, chapter 4 Christopher Farrington, Ulster Unionism and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, chapter 5 There are a number of other readings on your syllabus that are worth checking out. Also explore the websites of the unionist/loyalist political parties.

4 Trinity College Dublin Review IdentityCommunityIdeology Individual and collective self- understanding, where we ‘fit’ in society Feeling of belonging to a certain social group A system of concepts about self and others Who I amWho we areWhy we are this way

5 Trinity College Dublin Unionism and Loyalism Whilst unionist and loyalist identity, community and ideology may appear monolithic from the outside, this is not the case. Indeed, the distinction between ‘unionism’ and ‘loyalism’ itself implies at least some sort of diversity.

6 Trinity College Dublin Tonge (2002) “Unionism has been an ideology constructed upon resistance, whereas nationalism has been an ‘active ideological force’ (Aughey, 1994: 54). This is because Ulster unionism is an ideology upon the defence of the status quo.” (52)

7 Trinity College Dublin Todd (1987) ‘Two Traditions in Unionist Political Culture’ This article is considered a ‘classic’ and was recently reprinted in The Irish Political Studies Reader (2008). A pioneering analysis of the ‘ideological structure’ of unionism: ‘the interrelated and often unspoken cultural assumptions and beliefs which are reproduced not primarily by state action or elite manipulation but by typical modes of experience and practice in the society..’

8 Trinity College Dublin Ulster Loyalist Tradition Primary imagined community is northern Protestants Secondary identification with Britain based on ‘conditional loyalty’ Views political life as a struggle between good and evil Dominatory rituals, such as marches

9 Trinity College Dublin Ulster Loyalist

10 Trinity College Dublin Ulster Loyalist Tradition Draws on evangelical fundamentalist religious tradition Core assumption: ‘the only alternative to Ulster loyalist dominance is Ulster loyalist defeat and humiliation’ Constituencies?: Orange Order, DUP, secular working class loyalism

11 Trinity College Dublin Ulster British Tradition Imagined community is Greater Britain Secondary regional identification with Northern Ireland Religious values not primary Moral principles important in defining their community Either integrationist or devolutionist Shares some principles with liberalism, which are continually challenged by NI context

12 Trinity College Dublin Ulster British

13 Trinity College Dublin Discussion What do you make of Todd’s distinction between two traditions? Do you think the analysis is still valid today?

14 Trinity College Dublin Tonge (2002): Draws on Porter’s (1996) Three Types Cultural Unionism: Exaggerated sense of Protestant Britishness (Paisleyism) Liberal Unionism: Rational, contractarian case for the Union, condemns sectarianism. Assumes majority consent and UK is liberal and enlightened Civic Unionism: Reconcile defence of Union with embrace of rival claims of nationalism (see Aughey)

15 Trinity College Dublin Farrington (2001) ‘Ulster Unionist Political Divisions in the late 20th Century,’ Irish Political Studies, v16, pp Farrington focuses on the ‘religious-secular spectrum’ and differences in tactics (dogmatism vs. pragmatism)

16 Trinity College Dublin Divisions Dogmatic and Secular: McCartney, anti-GFA UUP Pragmatic and Secular: PUP, business community, pro-GFA UUP Dogmatic and Religious: DUP, Orange Order (some) Pragmatic Religious: some Protestant churches, i.e. Eames

17 Trinity College Dublin Unionism and Change Development of ‘Trimble Unionism’ Richard English (2002) ‘The growth of new unionism,’ in Coakley, Changing Shades of Orange and Green

18 Trinity College Dublin Trimble Unionism influence of ‘civic unionism,’ Aughey sense that terms for a deal for unionists were worsening sense of possible British abandonment recognizes changes in the Republic of Ireland recognizes changes in republicanism

19 Trinity College Dublin Analysis of unionist ideology, post-1985 (pages ): fluidity of ideology (especially in matters of links between religion and politics) complexity of the unionist community attempted rehabilitation of the idea of unionism as a rational, defensible ideology (Aughey, Porter important names here) new attention on East-West dimensions vulnerability, insecurity, lack of confidence

20 Trinity College Dublin Focus Questions In light of class today, reflect on the components that make up unionist and loyalist identities. To what extent does your own personal identity include (or not!) any of those components? Does your identity impact on your ability to interact with people with unionist/loyalist identities within your organisation or the community?

21 Trinity College Dublin Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process Farrington (2006) Support for the GFA has declined DUP has replaced the UUP as the largest party Smaller unionist/loyalist parties have been swallowed up Why?

22 Trinity College Dublin Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process Unionists are dissatisfied and have turned away from the ‘moderates’ ? Farrington says this is too simple. The change can be attributed to several aspects of the politics of the peace process

23 Trinity College Dublin Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process Peace process introduced a specific issue into unionist party competition (yes or no) The party system has become more competitive (PR voting, more elections) This change has caused parties (esp DUP) to rethink strategies, i.e. no more electoral pacts

24 Trinity College Dublin Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process Political divisions in UUP maintained so as to prevent party fragmentation (but make unified policy difficult to achieve) ‘The leadership of the DUP … began a slow, and seemingly deliberate, campaign to move the party into softer anti-Agreement territory but simultaneously maintaining their credibility among their traditional supporters’ (Farrington, 176).

25 Trinity College Dublin

26 Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process DUP parallels with the UUP: – sense that terms for a deal for unionists were worsening – sense of possible British abandonment (treachery!) – recognizes changes in the Republic of Ireland – recognizes changes in republicanism

27 Trinity College Dublin Analysing Change: Unionism and the peace process

28 Trinity College Dublin Ganiel (2007) Five dominant discursive themes the DUP used to discredit the peace process: – delegitimization of David Trimble and the UUP – the immorality of the peace process and the agreement – the security threat – the victimization of Protestants – demand to re-negotiate the agreement

29 Trinity College Dublin DUP’s practical responses to new political structures participation in the Assembly participation in the Assembly executive (took seats in the executive but refused to sit in cabinet with Sinn Fein or participate in meetings of the North-South Ministerial Council) … a ‘Jesuitical distinction’ used ministerial and committee post salaries for a party election fund rotated ministers in the executive acceptance of power-sharing (although they make a distinction between power-sharing with nationalists and ‘terrorists in government’)

30 Trinity College Dublin Finally: sharing power with Sinn Fein

31 Trinity College Dublin Challenges to the DUP ‘Concerned Free Presbyterians’ Jim Allister & the TUV Robinson: convincing unionists of benefits of devolution

32 Trinity College Dublin Questions Remain Have there been significant ideological changes within unionism/loyalism? What factors external to unionism/loyalism have been most significant in provoking change? Is the DUP sharing power with SF simply strategic? How will the DUP handle the TUV challenge?


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