In Belfast, Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, myriad problems of epistemology and research design confront ethnographers entering the field for the first time. While these often remain a permanently taxing wellspring of frustration and anxiety, their apparent resolution through experience can occasionally lull researchers into a false sense of security in the context of social interaction with field respondents. By exploring an instance in which the author neglected to apply his understanding of the important Northern Ireland phenomenon of 'telling', the article shows how method and epistemology should always be borne in mind during fieldwork situations—even those implicitly discounted a priori as nonethnographic. While such relaxation of self-awareness may precipitate various blunders and ethnographic faux-pas, it also opens up spaces of critical inquiry into the collaborative constitution of selves and others in field situations, and refocuses the ethnographer's awareness of his positioning as an outsider in webs of social activity.
Ethnographic Anxiety and Its 'Telling' Consequences
Liam D. Murphy
Instrumentalised Secularity and Religious Futures in Northern Ireland
Liam D. Murphy
Competitive funding by the European Union for community projects in Northern Ireland operates according to a political logic in which some groups and projects (deemed progressive, modern and generally secular) are prioritised, while others (discursively positioned as anachronistic, traditional and religious) are precluded. In this process, EU processes of statecraft seek to instrumentalise grassroots organisations as means to the many ends of a disenchanted, modern EU federation. In turn, overtly religious groups (among them churches, parachurches, and confraternities of various kinds) adapt to these conditions by instrumentalising EU processes and goals to the general end of securing a future place for religiosity in the 'new' Northern Ireland. This paper discusses the intersection of religious objectives and ideologies with that of European modernism in the context of two organisations: the Orange Order and the Divine Fellowship Congregation (DFC). Speci fically, I argue that both associations have developed distinctive forms of practice (the 'Orangefest' and 'Utopia' projects, respectively) that re-conceive what is possible for modern EU-funded initiatives. This adaptation has implications for both sets of institutions, in that each is transformed through articulation with the other.
Rebekka King, Jonathan Spencer, Liam D. Murphy, Frederick P. Lampe, Sherry Angela Smith, Michael Rowlands, Nanlai Cao, Julie Botticello, Joana Santos, Joël Noret, José Mapril, George St. Clair, Tom Boylston, Marie Brossier, Alexander Horstmann, Detelina Tocheva, Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic, Michael W. Scott, Uday Chandra, Ana Stela de Almeida Cunha, Steven J. Sutcliffe, Jackie Feldman, Benedikte Moeller Kristensen and Alyssa Grossman
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