Loyalists
in Socio-ideological fantasy and the Northern Ireland conflict
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This chapter considers the depiction of Northern Protestant identity in the literature, with special emphasis on loyalists and proposed resolutions of the conflict in Northern Ireland, and draws conclusions about the reproduction of conflict from a Lacanian perspective. Peter Shirlow and Mark McGovern's presentation of the key features in the construction of the ‘Protestant People’ include the community's stress on unity over dissension, their stress on ‘British civility’ over ‘Irish barbarism’, and their removal of the Irish Other from their historiography. These are attempts at self-idealisation. Added to these, the authors note that the Protestant People see their norms and beliefs as immutable, which evokes the immutability of the imago in Lacanian psychoanalysis, which the child perceives in the mirror and confuses with itself in the mirror stage. This chapter also discusses the views of Brian Graham, Alan Finlayson, Colin Coulter, Jennifer Todd, Sarah Nelson, Anthony Kimbley, and Susan McKay. Moreover, it examines some of the rationalisations in the self-perception of the Protestant self-interpretation, as well as the function of the Catholic Other in this self-interpretation.

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