The Loyal Orange Institution in Scotland, 1799 to 1900
The thesis has a number of general aims, which range around conceptualising the Loyal Orange Institution [LOI] and laying it open for a fruitful theoretical approach. There is first in Section One, a demarcation of the object of study, drawing a rigorous line between the LOI and a much more indefinite body of militant Protestant and anti-Catholic sentiment. Following on from this, the causal regress is shifted beyond a commonsense attribution of `sectarianism', and the conspiratorial or functionalist emphases which tend to dominate the existing literature. Generally more appropriate, in analysing Orangeism's progress in 19th century Scotland, is a conception of ideology which is structural and objective. Yet care is also taken here not to erase all instances of social control in the Movement's history. These, it is suggested, can be viewed as arising from basic inequalities of power in capitalism, in turn the result of economic inequalities and control of the state apparatus. A further difficulty with the more `sophisticated' Marxist approach is also raised. For, if this is a better fit with Orangeism's political and ideological content; in its embracing of endemic fractionalisation of the proletariat, it does seem to abandon a characteristic Marxist class analysis in favour of a neo-Weberian one. It is agreed that this indicated the need for a new Marxist approach to sectionalism. The construction of such an approach, however, requires concrete historical work rather than more speculative theorising. Accordingly it is the former which is the concern of this thesis, though it does raise a number of themes which are important for further theoretical consumption. Section Two, for example, suggests the necessity of rethinking the relation between sectarianism and sectionalism in the workplace. Related to this must also be a reconsideration of the `labour aristocracy' concept, and the explanatory value of `marginal privilege' in connection with Orangeism. The Section further emphasises the need for a phenomenological dimension in any new theory of working class sectionalism, a sensitivity to self-perceptions being particularly crucial in understanding the sources of motivation for Orangeism and the internal divisions which characterised it. An important substantive problem also structures this, and Section Three dealing with Orange political practice - namely how to account for the LOI's absolute strength, yet relative weakness in Scotland. The predicates for the former, it is argued, are found in a sympathetic ideological climate, and in the impact of successive home Rule and Disestablishment crises. Above all, though, it is suggested that the real backbone of LOI support in 19th century Scotland was formed by Ulster Protestant migrants. In Orange relations with the churches and political parties, however, this `Ulster factor' could prove a double-edged sword. For while the migrants themselves were largely integrated into Scottish society, Orangeism itself was widely perceived as an extension of Irish `party' quarrels. Coupled with a reputation for violence and drunkenness, this factor interacted in turn with broader cultural and political, as well as economic, features of 19th century Scotland. Notably these included schisms in the Scottish churches, the precarious position of the Conservative party here, and the focus of political decision-making outside the country. These points indicate, finally, the importance of an awareness of the specificity of social formations in any new approach to sectionalism.