Catholicism in Northern Ireland and the process of conflict

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Title: Catholicism in Northern Ireland and the process of conflict
Authors: Mitchell, Claire
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Date: May-2003
Abstract: It is a common misconception that religion in Northern Ireland is politically important only for Protestants, whereas for Catholics the causes of conflict are social, economic and political. Despite very high levels of religiosity amongst Catholics, faith is generally viewed as something located in the private sphere that does not spill over into the public realm. This paper challenges the assumption of the social insignifcance of Catholicism and urges re-examination of how the relationships between religion and politics are conceived and measured for this group. It argues that analysis must extend beyond linkages between theological beliefs and political preferences. In fact other dimensions of religion, such as its role in the construction of community and identity as well as its institutional influence, are much more useful in understanding its political significance. The paper concludes that when these dimensions of religion are examined, we find that Catholicism has been enormously important in the politics of conflict in Northern Ireland. It concludes that after the Good Friday Agreement, the political roles of Catholicism have changed somewhat, but have by no means disappeared.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The author, 2003
Keywords: Catholicism;Northern Ireland;Religion;Conflict
Subject LCSH: Catholics--Religious identity--Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland--Religion
Social conflict--Northern Ireland
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Paper presented at Institute for British-Irish Studies Conference “Old structures, new beliefs: religion, community and politics in contemporary Ireland,” University College Dublin, 15 May 2003.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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