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Ironic inversions and stable purposes: reimagining political traditions in Ireland after the EU Referendum 2016

Abstract

The outcome and impact of the EU Referendum result in 2016 has raised some interesting questions about living with ideological divisions in Northern Ireland and about how the traditions in Northern Ireland, and on the island of Ireland, now stand in relation to one another. There are questions of the ‘identity effects’ on Brexit on unionism and nationalism, where old prejudices have found new contexts for expression and questions around how old political traditions and arguments have been reshaped or reimagined by Brexit. We argue that there have been some clear ironical inversions of argument since 2016 and that these ironies are traceable first, to the clearly changing balance of power between the two main communities and second, to the changing ideological ethos of the Republic of Ireland vis-à-vis Northern Ireland, provoking what we call separation or castration anxiety for both unionism and nationalism in the context of a reimagined future.

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Correspondence to Cathy Gormley-Heenan.

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Gormley-Heenan, C., Aughey, A. Ironic inversions and stable purposes: reimagining political traditions in Ireland after the EU Referendum 2016. Br Polit 16, 187–202 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-021-00169-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-021-00169-5

Keywords

  • Northern Ireland
  • Brexit
  • Conflict
  • Identity
  • Border