Rankin, K. J.
Rankin, K. J.
Rankin, K. J.
Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
- PublicationThe troubled historiography of classical boundary terminology(University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2004)
;This paper seeks to explore the evolution and mutation of terms and concepts in boundary studies. It re-examines the context and actual letter of some items of classical boundary terminology, developed largely within the half-century period fol-lowing the appearance of Friedrich Ratzel’s Politische Geographie in 1897. While traditional political geography’s coverage of territorial questions was substantial, the conventional wisdom holds that, in academic terms at least, it was far from enlightened—and has justifiably been criticised for its lack of objectivity, imagination and focus. Yet to dismiss the contributions of this period collectively as negative and deterministic is clearly too simplistic. Many individuals were more far-sighted than is generally recognised—Ratzel himself identified the essential premise of borderland studies some 70 years before it was developed more fully when commenting: “der Grenzraum ist das Wirkliche, die Grenzlinie die Abstraktion davon”. The pioneering attempts made to develop a specialised vocabulary for the study of international boundaries and territorial questions have not always been represented accurately or fairly by academics and policy makers. Ideas, good and bad, have been distorted through phraseology, poor translation and simple errors and corrupted for political means—in the latter instance, particularly the pursuit of questionable analogies and ideals, such as the living state organism and natural boundaries. This paper re-examines the rudiments of early territorial conceptions, while acknowledging the historical paradigms in which they originated 871
- PublicationThe creation and consolidation of the Irish border(University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2005)This paper helps explain how the Irish Border came to be delimited and why it was confirmed in position. It constitutes an empirical survey and analysis of the origins of partition proposals and a review of contemporaneous policies and philosophies of both individual and collective bodies within a geographical context. The core of the paper focuses on the 1911–26 period, and specifically examines the process and the initial results of dividing Ireland into two distinct political entities. Two broad phases are identified in what amounts to a unique example of boundary making. First, there is an evolutionary phase concerning the creation the Irish Border, charting the troubled passage of the third home rule bill until the final passage of the Government of Ireland Act in December 1920. The second phase concerns how the Irish Border was entrenched and consolidated, and charts the formative stages of the government of Northern Ireland referring to the 1921 elections and its devolved administration until the suppression of the Irish Boundary Commission in 1925, which left the boundary unaltered in position and entrenched in function. The paper concludes that regardless of the arguments for and against drawing a boundary in the first place, there remained a responsibility for drawing it fairly and democratically. However, of course, a fair and democratic boundary may be no more sustainable than one drawn on the basis of any other criteria.
- PublicationTheoretical concepts of partition and the partitioning of IrelandThe circumstances concerning the partitioning of Ireland do not fit easily with patterns observed in other examples. The evolving bases of partition between 1912 and 1925 varied significantly with regard to geography, political status, and function. Also, the presence of the third party in partitions is not strictly applicable to Ireland as Britain was both an external and internal party in the Irish equation. Partition is an intrinsically abstract and simplistic blunt instrument applied on a complex mosaic of peculiarities that constitute reality. There are very few modern states that are ethnically or culturally homogenous. In this context, partition is a subjective territorial tactic that treats symptoms of historical, political, and geographical difficulties. Hence, isolating politics, economics, history, or any other single perspective for analysis is likely to yield only limited insight, as they are not isolated in reality. The paper concludes that ultimately, notwithstanding the definitions and categories of partitions that have been devised, not only is each case of partition unique but subject to differing interpretations. In this regard, Ireland is a prime example.
- PublicationThe provenance and dissolution of the Irish boundary commissionThe abortive saga of the Irish Boundary Commission has largely been dismissed as a minor footnote that warrants little elaboration in Ireland’s partition discourse. This is unsurprising considering that its final report, having been pre-empted by an inspired newspaper forecast, was hastily suppressed so as to prevent the destabilisation of the fledgling regimes in the newly created Northern Ireland and the then Irish Free State. However, the concept of the Irish Boundary Commission derives from the intensifying controversies of Irish Home Rule and partition with specific reference to how and where a boundary was eventually drawn as well as to the creation of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. The Commission was legally conceived in article 12 of the controversial 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty but confusion over its wording protracted a sequence of events that ensured that the Commission did not actually meet until almost three years later. The eventual restrictive interpretation of the article came to expose inherent flaws that were either ignored or naively underestimated when originally drafted. Furthermore, the complexities of evidence were inadequately scrutinised by a small and under-resourced panel that operated under considerable political pressure to delimit a precise line that satisfied the terms of reference. Nevertheless, the Boundary Commission served as a crucial catalyst in defining the Irish Free State’s relationship with the British State and Empire as well as in entrenching the territorial framework of Northern Ireland’s six counties that exists to this day.
- PublicationDeducing rationalities and political tactics in the partitioning of Ireland, 1912-1925(Elsevier, 2007-11)Partition is an intrinsically abstract and simplistic blunt instrument applied on a complex mosaic of peculiarities that constitute reality. There are very few modern states that are ethnically or culturally homogenous. In this context, partition is a subjective territorial tactic that can treat or exacerbate symptoms of historical, political, and geographical difficulties. While exhibiting comparative scope, especially to the role of the British State and the dynamics of national majorities and minorities, the circumstances concerning the partitioning of Ireland deviate from patterns gleaned from other examples as the evolving bases of its partition between 1912 and 1925 mutated at various stages with regard to geography, political status, and function. However, Ireland served as an important historical precedent in illustrating the disparity between the original intent and eventual result of its partition. Indeed, one can extrapolate from the Irish example that partition is better understood as a catalytic tactical process that radically reconfigures the political and geographical dimensions of conflict rather than as a decisive political instrument solving it.
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