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Does being Protestant matter? Protestants, minorities and the re-making of ethno-religious identity after the Good Friday Agreement

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Abstract:

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 gave an opportunity to remake not just political institutions, but ethno-religious distinction in Northern Ireland. This article looks at how individuals reconstruct their way of being Protestant in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the context of social and political change. It shows individuals renegotiating their ways of being Protestant, attempting sometimes successfully to change its socio-cultural salience, blurring ethnic boundaries, distinguishing religious and ethno-national narratives, drawing universalistic political norms from their particular religious tradition. It argues that these renegotiations are highly sensitive to the macro-political context. Changes in this context affect individuals through their changing cognitive understandings and strategic interests that, at least in this case, are as important to identification as social solidarities.

Keywords: Northern Ireland; Protestant; ethno-religious identity; identity change; minority; symbolic boundaries

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14608940802680912

Affiliations: University College Dublin, Ireland

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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