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Band Development in Northern Ireland

Ethnographic Researcher to Policy Consultant

Jacqueline Witherow

This article examines the concept of 'band development' taking place within the parading band culture in contemporary Northern Irish society. The parading tradition in Northern Ireland today is associated with two main characteristics; first, the public image of contemporary parading traditions is mainly negative due to its association with parading disputes that particularly developed in the 1990s. Second, that aggressively Protestant Blood and Thunder flute bands have become a dominant feature of these public performances. It is these ensembles that are defining people's notions of what parading bands represent. This article will discuss how ethnographic research with these bands allowed engagement on a policy level to take place, leading to 'band development'.

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Gareth E. Hamilton

Before giving the first version of this article at EASA 2018 in Stockholm, where I had travelled by land and sea from my original ‘home’ in Northern Ireland (where I had been visiting my parents), I came across a National Geographic article

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Linguistic Identities in Post-Conflict Societies

Current Issues and Developments in Northern Ireland

Freya Stancombe-Taylor

Introduction Languages are at the forefront of the current political stalemate in Northern Ireland, a disputed constituent region of the United Kingdom that, at the time of writing, has been without a working regional government for over two

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Richard Kirkland

Few aspects of Northern Irish political culture are as denuded as those that attempt to locate and understand the terrorist act. From the exasperation of Margaret Thatcher’s outburst at the time of the Hunger Strikes that ‘it is not political, it is a crime’, to the exhausted freedom fighter/terrorist binary opposition recently pressed back into service by Peter Mandelson, terrorism has consistently been perceived as an act that defies the realm of civic discourse. Indeed, it has been the traditional role of language in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist atrocity to present itself as unable to capture the overwhelming materiality of the event itself. What, so the argument runs, can words offer in the face of such violence? Understood as such, every terrorist outrage becomes unspeakable.

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Elizabeth Tonkin

In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere in the British Isles, mainline church denominations support their own mission societies. A small study of their attitudes and objectives was conducted with society officials, and with leading supporters in different denominations. Working in solidarity with others in their congregation, supporters were often more interested in helping to relieve suffering than to learn about the cultures and politics of the ‘missionised’. The sociality and disinterestedness of such charitable activities is contrary to some common assumptions about Western individualistic giving, deserves anthropological analysis and is relatable to Maussian theories of ‘the gift’.

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Building Rapport

‘Curing’ and ‘Charming’ as Cultural Intimacy in Everyday Bureaucratic Encounters in the Northern Ireland Farming Community

Irene Ketonen-Keating

This article examines how beliefs in ‘magical’ healing serve as a form of cultural intimacy in the Northern Ireland (NI) farming community. Magical healing in NI is interchangeably called ‘curing’ or ‘charming’ ( Moore 2010: 111 ). ‘Cultural

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From soft to hard law?

Culture, identity, and language issues within the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights process

Elizabeth Craig

This article explores the use of soft law by those involved in the drafting of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, drawing in particular on the author's experiences as legal adviser to the Culture, Identity, and Language Working Group of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum. The article reflects on the extent to which the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 1995 and other relevant international instruments can be considered as forms of international soft law. It then highlights controversies that have arisen in debates over the content and scope of provisions addressing culture, identity, and language issues in any future Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

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Policing, Policy and Practice

Responding to Disorder in North Belfast

Neil Jarman

Rioting and street disorder have been a recurrent problem in Northern Ireland over the course of the peace process. This article reviews a range of the responses that have been developed to try to address the disorder and to better understand the process of the creation and development of policy. The article starts from interpretation of policy as a process of social relations involving the interaction of different sectors of society and it discusses how government and community actors have responded in different ways to the violence, but over the course of time have come to a broadly shared understanding of the most appropriate means of managing the conflict.

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Calling It Mammon

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.

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When They Write What We Write

Young People's Influence on Policymaking in Northern Ireland

Rosellen Roche

This article discusses young people's influence on a recent policy initiative conducted among Catholic and Protestant school leavers in Northern Ireland's second largest urban area, Derry/Londonderry. The programme, the Toward Reconciliation and Inclusion Project or TRIPROJECT, was Northern Ireland's first dedicated attempt to target young school leavers in a survey project and sought to involve the young people in the selection of questions used within the survey. The article opens with a brief discussion on the predicament of anthropology's situation of 'informants' and the criticism that often follows post-field discussions. The article then moves to discuss TRIPROJECT as a case example of applied anthropology actively involving 'informants' in the process of knowledge gathering and analysis presentation, emphasising how informants had control over the process of scholarship. The article ends by addressing this experience within the context of anthropology and the interpretation of questions and answers between 'informants' and those who study them.