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Title: Glentoran Football Club and Ulster Unionist identity
Author: Bleakney, Judith
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 2804
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines how football reflects the identity of a specific community of Ulster unionists living in Northern Ireland. The central hypothesis at the heart of this study concerns the multifaceted nature of unionist and loyalist identity within a subgroup of Protestant, working class supporters of Glentoran Football Club residing in east Belfast. The thesis demonstrates that these supporters exhibit a multitude of identity positions that are influenced by historical, political and spatial factors and are neither constant across time nor consistent in any one individual. It is also established that among this group of Irish league supporters are a significant number of individuals who are able to exhibit a liberal unionist stance, contrary to the more intransigent views that have often been presented in previous work as representative of loyalist football supporters. Theoretically, this thesis is underpinned by a number of perspectives on national identity, the nation and nationalism and specifically those elements of theory that are most pertinent to the analysis of unionist identities and their expression. The study reveals that the identities that cohere around Glentoran FC lie on a continuum of identities that reflect Ulster British, civic, political and liberal unionism, Ulster Loyalist, ethnic and cultural unionist identity positions. In total, fifty people were interviewed, having been chosen through a mixture of purposive, snowballing and theoretical selection techniques. The sample consisted mainly of those who supported Glentoran, but also of those who had significant experience with the club such as players, staff employed by Glentoran FC and personnel within the Irish Football Association with significant experience. In addition to interviews, participant observation at 16 Glentoran matches was undertaken between May 2006 and May 2013 and documentary analysis was carried out to gather further information and to verify some of the statements made during interviews.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available