The Grammar of Nationality, the Limits of Variation and the Practice of Exclusion in the Two Irelands

  • Jennifer Todd
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter sketches the conventional understandings of nationality in each part of Ireland. It uses thematic analysis of interviews to delineate the everyday symbolic boundaries of religion and nationality, focusing on the symbolic ‘grammars of nationality’ that define the reference and meaning of national and religious categories and their relative interrelations with other fields. These grammars differ markedly in Northern Ireland (and within it) and in the Republic of Ireland, and are differentially open to incremental change. Through analyzing narratives of exclusion, the chapter reveals how these seemingly flexible grammars are mobilized for exclusionary purposes.


Nation Nationalism Religion Cognitive mapping Symbolic boundaries Belonging Discourse Presentation of self Rules of appropriateness Assaults on worth 


  1. Aughey, A. (1989). Under Siege: Ulster Unionists and the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.Google Scholar
  2. Billig, M. (1995). Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Buckley, A. D., & Kenny, M. C. (1995). Negotiating Identity: Rhetoric, Metaphor and Social Drama in Northern Ireland. London: Smithsonian Institute Press.Google Scholar
  4. Burton, F. (1978). The Politics of Legitimacy: Struggles in a Belfast Community. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Cañás Bottos, L. (2015). Assemblages of Sovereignty and Anti-sovereign Effects on the Irish Border. Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 71, 86–99. Scholar
  6. Cañás Bottos, L., & Rougier, N. (2006). Generations on the Border: Changes in Ethno-national Identity in the Irish Border Area. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 12(3–4), 617–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleary, J. (2002). Literature, Partition and the Nation-State. Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine. Cambridge: CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coakley, J. (2012). Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State: Making and Breaking Nations. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crozier, M. (1990). Good Leaders and ‘Decent Men’: An Ulster Contradiction. In M. Hill & S. Barber (Eds.), Aspects of Irish Studies. Belfast: Institute for Irish Studies, Queens University.Google Scholar
  10. Elliott, M. (1985). Watchmen in Sion: The Protestant Idea of Liberty. Derry: Field Day pamphlet.Google Scholar
  11. Fahey, T., Hayes, B., & Sinnott, R. (2005). Conflict and Consensus: A Study of Values and Attitudes in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.Google Scholar
  12. Gil White, F. (1999). How Thick Is Blood? The Plot Thickens. If Ethnic Actors Are Primordialist, What Becomes of the Circumstantialist/Primordialist Controversy? Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22(5), 789–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harris, R. (1972). Prejudice and Tolerance in Ulster: A Study of Neighbours and ‘Strangers’ in a Border Community. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hutchinson, J. (2005). Nations as Zones of Conflict. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Hutchinson, J., & Smith, A. D. (Eds.). (1994). Nationalism. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  16. Hutchinson, J., & Smith, A. D. (Eds.). (1996). Ethnicity. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar
  17. Lamont, M., & Mizrachi, N. (2012). Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things: Responses to Stigmatization in Comparative Perspective. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(3), 365–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lamont, M., Moraes Silva, G., Welburn, J., Guetzkow, J., Mizrachi, N., Herzog, H., & Reis, E. (2016). Getting Respect: Responding to Stigmatization and Discrimination. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Link, M., & Hayward, K. (2009). Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution: Debating Peace in Northern Ireland. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Malešević, S. (2013). Nation-States and Nationalisms: Organization, Ideology and Solidarity. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  21. McAuley, J. (2010). Ulster’s Last Stand? Reconstructing Unionism after the Peace Process. Dublin: Irish Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Millar, A. (2006). Socio-ideological Fantasy and the Northern Ireland Conflict: The Other Side. Manchester: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mitchell, C. (2006). Religion, Identity and Politics in Northern Ireland: Boundaries of Belonging and Belief. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  24. Moxon Browne, E. (1986). Alienation: The Case of Catholics in Northern Ireland. Journal of Political Science, 14(1–2), 74–88.Google Scholar
  25. Muldoon, O. T., Trew, K., Todd, J., Rougier, N., & McLaughlin, K. (2007). Religious and National Identity after the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. Political Psychology, 28(1), 89–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Otukoya, B. (2016). Bheith Éireannach (Becoming Irish): Privilege or Right. Irish Studies in International Affairs, 27(1), 57–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pollak, A. (Ed.). (1993). A Citizens’ Inquiry: The Opsahl Report on Northern Ireland. Dublin: Lilliput.Google Scholar
  28. Ruane, J., & Todd, J. (1996). The Dynamics of Conflict in Northern Ireland: Power, Conflict, and Emancipation. Cambridge: CUP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Spradley, J. P. (1979). The Ethnographic Interview. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  30. Stevenson, C., & Muldoon, O. T. (2010). Socio-political Context and Accounts of National Identity in Adolescence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 583–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sugden, J., & Bairner, A. (1993). Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland. Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Todd, J. (2014). Social Structure and Religious Division: Comparing the Form of Religious Distinction in the Two Irish States. In J. Wolffe (Ed.), Irish Religious Conflict in Comparative Perspective (pp. 42–58). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Todd, J. (2015). Partitioned Identities? Everyday National Distinctions in Northern Ireland and the Irish State. Nations and Nationalism, 21(1), 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Todd, J., Muldoon, O., Trew, K., Cañás Bottos, L., Rougier, N., & McLaughlin, K. (2006). The Moral Boundaries of the Nation: Nation, State and Boundaries in the Southern Irish Border Counties. Ethnopolitics, 5(4), 365–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Todd
    • 1
  1. 1.Geary InstituteUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations