How the "Northern Irish" national identity is understood and used by young people and politicians

McNicholl, K., Stevenson, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2438-6425 and Garry, J., 2019. How the "Northern Irish" national identity is understood and used by young people and politicians. Political Psychology, 40 (3), pp. 487-505. ISSN 0162-895X

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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 nonhuman 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 conceptualizations for rhetorical effect. These results give a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of national identity and its ability to promote political agendas.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Political Psychology
Creators: McNicholl, K., Stevenson, C. and Garry, J.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Date: June 2019
Volume: 40
Number: 3
ISSN: 0162-895X
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 11 Jul 2018 15:43
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2019 03:00

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