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Title: Myths and Rituals: Unionist governance in the 1950s
Author: Barnes, Carol-Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 3445 8106
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2008
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In commemorative practices there are a number of fundamental concerns: for memory itself - how is the past remembered and constructed,. what narrative is told and how accurate is it?; power - which events are remembered, whose history do they narrate and at what level?; the public I private distinction - to what degree do public narratives reflect private lived experiences?; continuity and change what is authentic and what is invented?; and the social setting - to what extent does commemoration reinforce or create identities, generate social cohesion within a group or exclude those who do not identify with the events commemorated? The study considers two government-sponsored commemorations; the Festival of Britain, 1951 and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953. The events are analysed within Paul Connerton's framework of myths and rituals: the Festival as narrating a myth and the Coronation as performing a ritual. Connerton's theory would suggest that although the authoritative tone of the Festival story appeared a more obvious exertion of power, its malleable, mythic character meant that it need not have been entirely believed and therefore, was as likely to be ignored as to be disputed. By contrast, the invariance encoded in the ritual of the Coronation ceremony operated at a more subliminal level. It is proposed that because this nonnegotiable aspect of ritual incorporated constitutional and religious characteristics, it operated more persuasively as a manifestation of power and authority and hence, was more forcefully challenged, particularly by those who considered themselves marginal to the existing social and constitutional order. Since a great deal of the 'Troubles literature' is premised on prevIous but somewhat limited considerations ofthis period as a time of political stagnation and wasted opportunity, it requires contemporary reassessment. Connerton's thesis provides an alternative and insightful perspective on this under researched period in Northern Ireland's history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available