Signs of War and Peace: Social Conflict and the Use of Public Symbols in Northern Ireland

By Harvey, Clodagh Brennan | Western Folklore, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Signs of War and Peace: Social Conflict and the Use of Public Symbols in Northern Ireland


Harvey, Clodagh Brennan, Western Folklore


Signs of War and Peace: Social Conflict and the Use of Public Symbols in Northern Ireland. By Jack Santino. (New York: Palgrave, 2001. Pp. x + 145, preface, photographs, bibliography, index. $45.00 cloth)

The hostilities that by now have plagued Northern Ireland for over three decades are among the most written-about in the world. (Published works whose approaches resonate with that of the work under present review include Brian 1998, 2000; Buckley and Kenney 1995; Jarman 1997; Loftus 1990, 1994; Rolston 1992, 1998, 2003.) In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, The Troubles are a constant point of contention, analysis, public discussion, and outrage. Jack Santino's Signs of War and Peace provides a solid introduction to the nature and history of the conflict as well as to its prevailing ideologies and popular artistic manifestations. Using examples primarily from Northern Ireland, Santino examines genres of popular art-what Stoeltje 1993 calls "ritual genres"-that have become emblematic of the conflict: parades and processions, bonfires, effigy burnings, spontaneous shrines, and demonstrations, along with the flags, banners, and murals that may be components of these rituals or backdrops to them. The central aim of the book is "to place the study of ritual, festival, holidays, celebrations, and public display in the center of the study of major social problems such as war, conflict, and violence" (ix).

To begin to understand how intricately constructed, finely nuanced, and minutely articulated the two sides of this conflict actually are, and how they affect all aspects of life in Northern Ireland, one has to have lived there, or to have visited there extensively. Santino has the advantage of having spent protracted periods of time there, as well as the courage-the "bottle"-to grapple firsthand with the complexities and head-butting paradoxes of Northern Ireland, a place where brinksmanship has been honed to a fine art. In this sociopolitical context, virtually no cultural expression is neutral. The very terms used for the two sides of the conflict-Protestant/Catholic, Unionist/Nationalist, Loyalist/ Republican-are political tools. As Santino says, although these terms have been defined in multiple ways, including religiously, it is most accurate to define them politically (18-21).

Santino's candid first-person account and his interview materials (from private individuals whose lives have been affected by the Troubles and from public activists and artists and politicians) make it possible for the reader to experience vicariously the theatricality and intensity of daily life in Northern Ireland. Showing how the same expressions can be shaped and reshaped to serve mutually hostile political agendas, Signs of War and Peace elucidates the workings of multiform folk arts in this highly charged social and political environment. Santino provides vivid descriptions of what one sees and hears in Northern Ireland, especially during the "marching season" (essentially the entire month of July), in which thousands of parades commemorate William of Orange's 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, pivotal in the Protestant version of Irish history and celebrated by Orangemen ever since. Perceived alternately as a threatening assertion of Protestant-Unionist hegemony and as the period of the year's most important festivities and social gatherings, the marching season induces a palpable malaise throughout the province and sometimes results in violent confrontations. Workaday Ulster virtually shuts down in July. Santino gives us a feeling for both the carnivalesque atmosphere at Orange parades and their starkly ominous aspects, the nature of the bands and the music played and their social implications, the individuals and groups involved in the parades, and the critical yet underplayed implications of social class.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Signs of War and Peace: Social Conflict and the Use of Public Symbols in Northern Ireland
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.