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Title: Gender, ritual and power : the Blueshirts and Irish political culture, 1932-1936
Author: Montgomery, Dale Robert
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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In the 1932 general election, fewer than ten years after independence, Ireland underwent a peaceful and democratic transfer of power, a process that has occurred all too infrequently in post- colonial societies. Within a year, though, the Irish state faced a serious and violent extra-parliamentary threat to its authority by the fascistic group the Blueshirts. This group was more than just a political association; it constituted a distinct community within Irish society that was disputing the evolving nature of the Irish national collective. The Blue shirts ' social relationships, based on the members' . gender and class-based identities, structured the organisation's internal power dynamics and interaction with the wider Irish public. These relationships also constructed collective identities that simultaneously maintained and subverted inter-war Irish gender stereotypes. In order to extend these communal bonds through time and space across Ireland, the group made use of various forms of public exhibition, such as parades and mass meetings, which ritualistically conformed to Irish political cultural norms. These public processions contributed to the construction of the association's imagined identity, which incorporated more than just fascist ideology. The Blueshirts represented a communal fragment of the post-imperial society that was alienated from the emerging national consensus, and were willing to incorporate continental European ideas in pursuit of their post-colonial identity. The emergence of the Blueshirt community, with all of its paradoxes and tensions, was a reaction to the materialist and cultural construction of post-independence Irish national identity. Yet by the time of the organisation's eventual demise in 1936, republican nationalism had become hegemonic within Irish political culture. The Blueshirts, therefore, were the last populist mobilisation of an alternate conceptualisation of Irish nationalism. Understanding its demise reveals the material and discursive processes used by the state to integrate diverse communities into a homogenous and totalising national entity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available