Conflicts on Parade

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These three papers would speak (from a distance) to the themes of ‘Attacks on popular culture, culture debates and wars’, ‘The idea of ‘the people’ in politics and history’ and ‘The visual iconography of the popular (in media, the street, museums)’ from the vantage point of the Northern Irish parading tradition.

Parading is a very popular, prominent and prolific cultural phenomenon in Northern Ireland. As a politico-cultural practice, however, it is also a very contested part of the public sphere and society at large. Parades in Northern Ireland are mostly ethnically exclusive events, which rehearse a master commemorative narrative composed of a sectarian selection of events, reminding a group of its distinct social identity and historical development in a ritual performance (cf Zerubavel 1995, Connerton 1989). The protestant and loyalist master narrative commemorates a seamless sequence of protestant endurance and deliverance since the 17th century, while the commemorative calendar for nationalists and Republicans emphasise injustice, persecution and resistance, alongside nationalist and republican ideals (McBride 2001). Looking at parades in Northern Ireland, allows us to discuss more complicated notions of ‘the people’, and the place of popular culture in divided societies, as parades literally traverse terrains of political and social conflict.

We start from a classical cultural studies position that a) culture is a site of struggle over meaning and b) to understand a particular aspect of contemporary culture we have to understand the complex processes through which it was (and is) constituted and the complex relations within which it was (and is) constituted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventIreland and the Popular - AAU, Ålborg, Denmark
Duration: 7 May 20149 May 2014


ConferenceIreland and the Popular

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