Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    No exit? Opting out of religious and ethnic group identities in Northern Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009) ; ;
    This paper explores the experiences of people from evangelical Protestant backgrounds in Northern Ireland who have opted out of their religious identity. We are interested in how far it has been possible for people to leave their evangelical faith, and how this extends to a crossing of ethno-national, communal and political boundaries in Northern Ireland. Drawing on in-depth interviews conducted during 2007, the paper analyses how former evangelicals negotiate the formidable barriers to exit constructed by friends, family and wider society. Our aim is to understand more about how structure and agency operate in divided societies, including how individuals negotiate and ultimately establish alternative religious, ethnic and political identities in this context. We argue that most people remain constrained by the culture and social structure of division, and that alternative beliefs and identities remain unrepresented in a society still divided along ethno-religious lines. At the same time, we show how individuals creatively edit and reshape their identities within these boundaries.
  • Publication
    Conserving or changing? The theology and politics of Northern Irish fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants after the Good Friday Agreement
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2002)
    Some of the most severe opposition to the Good Friday agreement has come from the unionist community, particularly those classified as fundamentalist Protestants. This paper seeks to correct the overemphasis on fundamentalism, exploring the relationship between fundamentalist and evangelical Protestants in Northern Ireland. Through a case study of 20 members of the Queen’s University Belfast Christian Union, the author explores issues such as theological belief, political belief, and modes of political and perceived personal trajectory. The paper concludes with an exploration of the prospects for fundamentalists, and the role of evangelicals in fostering social change amongst the Protestant communities in Northern Ireland.
  • Publication
    The politics of religious dissent in Northern Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2003)
    Historically, the politics of dissent has been associated with Presbyterian participation in the United Irish movement. This paper argues for a broader definition of the politics of dissent based on the two dominant theological traditions in Ulster Protestantism—Calvinism and evangelicalism. It explains how these theologies have been drawn on to challenge their own assumptions, creating a politics of dissent that promises to transcend sectarianism. It is argued that this has been the case in contexts as varied as the United Irish movement, the radical evangelical wing of the early twentieth century labour movement, and the radical evangelical wing of the contemporary civil society-based peace movement. It evaluates the significance and influence of the politics of dissent in each era, and examines the reasons why the United Irish and labour movements did not transcend sectarianism. It concludes with an analysis of the prospects for the peace movement to help transcend sectarianism.
  • Publication
    Evangelical political identity in transition : mapping the intersections of religion, politics and change in post-Belfast Agreement Northern Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Institute for the Study of Social Change (Geary Institute), 2003-10)
    This paper analyzes changes in Northern Irish evangelical identity since the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Drawing on previous studies of Northern Irish evangelicalism, it constructs three schematic models that test hypotheses regarding what contributes to changes in identity in traditional/conservative, pietist, and moderate/radical directions. Based on interviews with evangelicals from the Queen's University of Belfast Christian Union; a Church of Ireland (Anglican) parish; and a Presbyterian congregation; it challenges previous conclusions about evangelical identity. It argues for a more multi-dimensional understanding of identity change, highlighting the complex ways in which factors such as age, education, class, lived experience in a rural or urban location, and interaction with evangelical leadership intersect. It argues that evangelical identities may be more diverse than originally expected; and that evangelicalism's ability to continue to influence Northern Irish politics in its traditional, conservative direction, is uncertain.
  • Publication
    Everyday Evangelicals : life in a religious subculture after the Belfast Agreement
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009) ;
    This paper examines the everyday lives of Northern Irish evangelicals since the Belfast Agreement of 1998. Drawing on more than 100 semi-structured interviews with evangelicals (conducted between 2002-2007), we explore the relationship between macro-level social and political changes and individuals’ religious change. While recognising the importance of macro-level factors in leading evangelicals to a privatisation, moderation or transformation of their faith, we argue that the importance of micro-level, subcultural factors in contributing to change has been underestimated. Thus we sketch out the main elements of a Northern Irish evangelical subculture, exploring how it has contributed to change—especially in directions we describe as converting, conserving and exiting. We conclude that a fuller understanding of individual religious change requires an appreciation of how these macro-level and micro-level factors intersect. In the context of the religiously-plural public sphere which is developing in Northern Ireland, we argue that evangelicals have more flexibility and specifically religious resources for political engagement than has been previously supposed.