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Plural Identities - Singular Narratives
The Case of Northern Ireland
Máiréad Nic Craith
248 pages, 1 map, 4 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-772-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (February 2002)
ISBN 978-1-57181-314-5 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (February 2002)
eISBN 978-1-78238-166-2 eBook
WINNER OF THE 2004 RUTH MICHAELIS JENA RATCLIFF PRIZE IN FOLKLORE AND FOLKLIFE
“The book consolidates an impressive amount of secondary literature on Northern Ireland identities and offers a valuable examination of certain inconsistencies and lacunae in the dualistic model ... her writing style is accessible and avoids disciplinary jargon…this book opens up as many questions as it answers, perhaps a reflection of a historical moment in which key certainties truly are in question.” · Canadian Journal of Irish Studies
"... [an] important work that ... offers ... a more creative approach to the examination of cross-community estrangement in Northern Ireland – one that rejects the tired 'tribal' designation. Of the homogeneous, catch-all label which academic and policy-maker alike have employed almost exclusively. · Irish Studies Review
"The richly detailed accounts about how the two different communities lay claim to certain parts of Northern Ireland's history, traditions, cultural heritage and indeed every-day customs are fascinating and provide a wealth of evidence about how identity becomes politicised and how deeply people care about its foundations once they feel threatened in their claim to exclusivity." · Ethnopolitics
"A very accessible, informative and carefully researched monograph in which she lays out a well-crafted argument about the complex relationships between the construction of memory and identity in Northern Ireland's divided society… immensely valuable for the richness of its detailed examination of identities (politics) in Northern Ireland… [an] excellent volume [that] proves that there is a lot of potential for cross-fertilisation." · Stefan Wolff, University of Bath
“... the most powerful part of Nic Craith’s work is not her thesis, but her engaged discussion of ongoing ambivalences in Northern Ireland’s ‘Britishness.’ Nic Craith presents a unique and remarkably rich look at the schisms in Ireland’s Protestant identities and their ambiguous relationship to English and Scottish national identities and politics…Nic Craith’s work does take us one step further in the process of unravelling the strained connection between nation and identity that has never been unique to Northern Ireland.” · Irish Literary Times
Northern Ireland is frequently characterized in terms of a "two traditions" paradigm, representing the conflict as being between two discrete cultures. Proceeding from an analysis of the historical and religious context, this study demonstrates the reductionist nature of the "two traditions" model, highlighting instead the complexity of ethnic identities and cultural traditions.
It thus shows why attempts at reconciliation like the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which seeks to promote the concept of a "parity of esteem" based on this identity model., are fraught with difficulties. Reflecting on the applicability of the concept of multiculturalism in the context of Northern Ireland, the author proposes a re-conceptualisation of Northern Irish culture along lines that steer clear of binary oppositions.
From the Contents: 'Webs of Significance'; Dis-membering the Past; Divided by Common Cosmologies; A Discourse in Difference; The Process if 'Cruthinitude'; Un Unclaimed Tradition; Ethnic Nationality; The 'Fuzzy Frontier'; The 'Common Ground'
Máiréad Nic Craith is Director of Research and Graduate Studies at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool.