Redefining Loyalism : a political perspective ; an academic perspective

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Title: Redefining Loyalism : a political perspective ; an academic perspective
Authors: Ervine, David
McAuley, James W.
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Date: 2001
Abstract: A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE: Although loyalism in its modern sense has been around since the 1920s, it acquired its present shape only at the beginning of the 1970s. Then it was reborn in paramilitary form, and was used by other, more privileged, unionists to serve their own interests. Yet the sectarianism within which loyalism developed disguised the fact that less privileged members of the two communities had much in common. Separation bred hatred, and led to an unfounded sense of advantage on the part of many Protestants who in reality enjoyed few material benefits. The pursuit of ac-commodation between the two communities can best be advanced by attempts to understand each other and to identify important shared interests, and the peace process can best be consolidated by steady, orchestrated movement on the two sides, and by ignoring the protests of those who reject compromise.
AN ACADEMIC PERSPECTIVE: In recent years a division has emerged within unionism between two sharply con-trasting perspectives. On the one hand, traditional unionism has relied on a discourse of perpetuity, relying on long-standing values and political attachment to the old order, and seeing in the developments that have been taking place since 1998 evidence of a creeping form of Irish unity. By contrast to these, “new loyalism”, represented in particular but not exclusively by the Progressive Unionist Party, is based on a reinterpretation of the past of unionism, seeing in this a pronounced and politically significant class structure, and putting the case for the defence of working class interests. This alternative vision rests on a more pluralistic conception of the politics of Northern Ireland.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Series/Report no.: IBIS Working Papers; 4; Redefining the union and the nation: new perspectives on political progress in Ireland Lecture Series; 4
Copyright (published version): The authors, 2001
Keywords: LoyalismNorthern Ireland
Subject LCSH: Unionism (Irish politics)
Northern Ireland--Politics and government
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: This contains the revised text of two lectures presented as part of the seminar series “Redefining the union and the nation: new perspectives on political progress in Ireland”, organised jointly by the Conference of University Rectors in Ireland and the Institute for British-Irish Studies. The lectures were presented in UCD on 6 No-vember 2000.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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