The transcendent role of Catholic discourse in the Irish Land War
in Land questions in modern Ireland
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The role the Irish Catholic Church played in the Land War is the subject of this chapter. The chapter takes as its starting point the view that political consciousness is fundamentally about meaning – or the sense people make of their worlds, the significance they give to past and present experience and events, and their expectations and aspirations for the future. What is argued is that it was through an ongoing discursive process – born out of class and political conflict, economic crises and rapidly unfolding political contingencies – that a sense of national identity began to emerge that allowed disparate social groups (including the Catholic clergy) forge and maintain a political alliance strong enough to erode the landlord system and the legitimacy of British domination in Ireland.

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