Narratives of Nationalism: Constructing Irish National Identity during the Land War, 1879–82

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Abstract:

This paper explores the process of Irish national identity construction during the Land War of 1879-1882. I take a social constructivist approach to nationalism and a narrative approach to national identity construction, and focus on the discursive struggle between the various, and often conflicting, groups that constituted the land movement. After decades of self-defeating struggle between conflicting nationalist factions, the Land War provided the 'political field' on which a unified national identity emerged from public discourse over landlordism and British domination, and collective action based on new symbolic understandings. At the core of both Land War ideology and the emergent national identity was a discourse of retribution, configured through the collective sharing of narratives, embodying central themes of the injustice of British and landlord domination, and the rights of the Irish to the land and the country.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713687701

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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