How the ‘Northern Irish’ National Identity is Understood and Used by Young People and Politicians

Kevin McNicholl, Clifford Stevenson, John Garry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
128 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The conventional understanding of the nation within social psychology is as a category of people or ‘imagined community’. However, work within the discursive tradition shows that citizens tend to discuss nationhood in a variety of modes, including the use of non-human categories such as references to the physical landscape of the country. This article aims to give a more comprehensive overview of how young people understand the Northern Irish identity, a new and potentially inclusive national category in a divided society, and how politicians articulate it in rhetoric. In Study 1, students (N = 286) discussed this identity in 44 peer-led focus groups. Thematic analysis of their discussions shows four distinct ways in which it is constructed: as a distinctive people, as an identity claim, as a ‘hot’ political project, and as a ‘cold’ or banal indicator of place. In Study 2, Members of the Legislative Assembly at Stormont (N = 49) responded to open ended questions about the Northern Irish identity. Each of the parties used different conceptualisations for rhetorical effect. These results give a deeper understanding of the multi-faceted nature of national identity and its ability to promote political agendas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Psychology
Early online date01 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 01 Oct 2018

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Social Psychology
Aptitude
Focus Groups
national identity
politician
Students
political agenda
social psychology
rhetoric
citizen
National Identity
Politicians
ability
community
Rhetoric
Irish Identity
Group
student

Cite this

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How the ‘Northern Irish’ National Identity is Understood and Used by Young People and Politicians. / McNicholl, Kevin; Stevenson, Clifford; Garry, John.

In: Political Psychology, 01.10.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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