Acts of Union: Youth Culture and Sectarianism in Northern by Desmond Bell

By Desmond Bell

During the last two decades, a chain of youth generations have come of age in strife-torn Ulster. adolescents boost a feeling of ethnic know-how - as Ulster Protestant or Irish Catholic - in a scenario of political quandary and sectarian war of words. utilizing ethnographic tools, Desmond Bell explores the subcultural global of younger Loyalists and examines the function of juvenile cultural practices within the copy of ethnic id and within the reconstruction of culture in Irish society.

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Additional info for Acts of Union: Youth Culture and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland

Example text

The role of youth cultures in the reconstruction of ethnic identity in a period of rapid and traumatic social change was largely ignored. Youth in Northern Ireland: the spectre of the troubles In Northern Ireland the situation on the surface seems somewhat different. Here the focus of public interest since the end of the 1960s has centred on the involvement of young people in the civil unrest. More generally it has focused on the effect of the 'Troubles' on the personal and social development of the young.

For liberals, on the other hand, intent as they were on a thorough revision of the nationalist canon, youth culture was greeted as a harbinger of a more affluent and permissive era. The hedonistic explosion of youth culture of the 1960s was warmly welcomed. This generational revolt semed to dramatically throw into question the outmoded values and loyalties of traditional Ireland. Moreover it seemed to token the possibility of a more enlightened political future. It seemed the young had at last turned their backs on the shibboleths of traditional religion and irredentist nationalism.

In times of economic malaise or rapid capitalist modernization, class-based ruptures within the fabric of Loyalism have become apparent. Protestant workers have looked to sectarian exclusivism to protect their livelihoods and chastised the Unionist elite about their lack of concern with the social conditions of the Protestant working class. 9 Paramount has been the issue of Loyalists exercising the right to parade in the face of government bans accepted by the conservative Orange hierarchy. Indeed asserting the right to march and redeeming the obligation of the Unionist elite to rank and file Protestants in terms of privileged access to the labour market, have often been inextricably fused in the minds of working-class Loyalists.

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