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Additional info for Identity in Northern Ireland: Communities, Politics and Change

Example text

Benedict Anderson’s characterization of the nation as ‘ . . an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign’ (Anderson, 1991, p. 6) provides the basis for a postmodernist interpretation. This interpretation stresses the centrality of culture-bound knowledge and narration in the development of the nation. In doing so, it attempts to provide an alternative to the dominant explanations of this development that have been conducted in terms of history as continuity or history as revolutionary transition.

33; Márie Nic Suibhne in the Guardian, 24 June, 1995). With the breakdown of the IRA cease-fire in February 1996, Loyalist paramilitaries threatened to respond ‘blow for blow’. However, they also maintained that ‘Northern Irish society was changing and would continue to change. New ground is constantly being broken and old animosities gradually laid to rest’ (the Guardian, 13 March 1996). By tempering the threat of a return to violence with an invitation to pursue change by peaceful means, Loyalist paramilitaries appear to be amenable to pursuing the opportunities for change through dialogue.

The nation is a concept that has preoccupied political life in Ireland, North and South, for generations. The mass mobilization achieved by Charles Stuart Parnell and his home rule party during the 1880s finally consolidated the rise of modern Irish nationalism which began with the rebellion of the United Irishmen in 1798. Yet, in the broader sense, the precise origin, meaning, function 19 20 Identity in Northern Ireland and future of ‘the nation’, and modern nationalism (the ideology that has inspired ideas of autonomy, unity and identity for ‘the nation’) is open to interpretation.

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