This chapter analyses how the findings of the research relate to current topical issues. It does this by examining the data in light of recent events. This leads to a discussion on how socio-political events are informed by media discourse, and how those discourses continue to inform the thoughts and actions of non-Muslims on an everyday basis.
This chapter discusses how the media practices of a media institution relate to the practices of individuals. By exploring the thoughts and actions of non-Muslims’ media behaviour, it is possible to ascertain in what ways a mediacratic society informs and structures behaviour. This will provide a natural follow-on from chapters 1 and 2, and informs the reader as to how media as an institution relates to socio-political practices.
This chapter explores how current portrayals of Islam and Muslims influence society. It does so by putting research data gathered using focus groups and interviews with non-Muslim participants in dialogue with one another. This then leads to a discussion about how this affects socio-political engagement, with a particular reference to the spreading of ideologies, discourses, and political capital. This will be explored by looking at how media communication and public debate affect community relations on the ground, through participant voices.
The book starts by detailing the theoretical and methodological background to the work, and how this informs the work itself. It then goes on to explain the significance of each individual chapter to the study as a whole, as well as the field in general.
This book considers how the coverage of Islam and Muslims in the press informs the thoughts and actions of non-Muslims. As media plays an important role in society, analysing its influence(s) on a person’s ideas and conceptualisations of people with another religious persuasion is important. News reports commonly feature stories discussing terrorism, violence, the lack of integration and compatibility, or other unwelcome or irrational behaviour by Muslims and Islam. Yet there is little research on how non-Muslims actually engage with, and are affected by, such reports. To address this gap, a content and discourse analysis of news stories was undertaken; verbal narratives or thoughts and actions of participants were then elicited using interviews and focus groups. The participant accounts point towards the normativity of news stories and their negotiated reception patterns. Individual orientations towards the media as an information source proved to be a significant factor behind the importance of news reports, with individually negotiated personal encounters with Muslims or Islam further affecting the meaning-making process. Participants negotiated media reports to fit their existing outlook on Islam and Muslims. This outlook was constructed through, and simultaneously supported by, news reports about Muslims and Islam. The findings suggest a co-dependency and co-productivity between news reports and participant responses. This research clearly shows that participant responses are (re)productions of local and personal contextuality, where the consequences of socially constructed depictions of Islam and Muslims engage rather than influence individual human thoughts and actions.
This chapter employs Foucault’s understanding of discourse, as suggested in the introduction, to analyse how media in Britain as a system of knowledge, engages with Islam. The British press is understood here as one method for managing and producing Muslims, in a political, sociological, ideological, and imaginative manner. As a consequence, these statements constitute how Muslims and Islam are perceived and can transform their audience’s understanding of Muslims and Islam in accordance with the presupposed system of knowledge.
This chapter covers the representations of Muslims and Islam, exploring the dominant ideas that contribute to the construction of Muslim identities in the press. It provides an in-depth insight into the context of such debates and themes and will offer an assessment of the symbols used in contemporary media. It reveals the manner in which discourses surrounding Muslims circulate, and considers broader issues of integration, multiculturalism, and accommodation debates and experiences.
The issue of policing provides an insight into the contested narratives between the mainstream and ‘dissident’ worlds regarding normalisation of Northern Ireland. This chapter examines attempts by Sinn Féin to keep its base united around accepting the legitimacy of the PSNI, placing an emphasis on its changed stance as tactical. The chapter provides an unprecedented insight into a Sinn Féin public meeting on policing which took place in Clonard Monastery in West Belfast. Radical republicans reject the significance of the change from the RUC to the PSNI and reject any reformed police force on a six-county basis. Such rejection is deeply rooted in ideology, tradition and symbolism. Radical republican discourse is largely dominated by references to negative interaction with the police. Through primary interviews, this chapter examines discourse around the legacy of the RUC and claims of collusion and mistrust. For groups such as RSF, the 32CSM, Saoradh and éirígí, protests against the PSNI form a significant element of the organisations’ visibility within the North. Finally, this chapter examines ‘community policing’ undertaken by the CIRA, the REAL IRA, the New IRA and OHN, and provides an insight into the nuanced spectrum of opinion within the republican world regarding republican policing.
Competing narratives regarding ‘justification’ for the Provisional IRA campaign strike to the heart of the Provisional–‘dissident’ divide. Radical republicans have largely rejected structural conditions as a motivating factor for the emergence of the campaign in 1969. This chapter details unprecedented interviews with former members of the Provisional Movement who reject the mainstream narrative and assert that their primary motivation was the pursuit of self-determination. Radical republicans reject any conflation of a civil rights agenda with ideological commitment to self-determination. This chapter illustrates how views on the motivation of the PIRA are directly related to the justification (or lack of) for a current armed campaign. Radical republicans have rejected the manner in which the ceasefires came about and have propagated a belief that the Provisional leadership were deliberately winding down the campaign. The radical republican world contains a wide spectrum of views on armed struggle, including individuals who remained with the Provisionals until the recent period (post-1998), whose views on armed struggle may be closer to the Provisional analysis. Finally, this chapter analyses why IRA decommissioning was ‘the choke’ for republicans, who have argued that decommissioning attempted to negate the historic right to armed struggle; and presents analysis from a CIRA spokesperson.
The conclusion locates ‘dissidents’ within the long trajectory of Irish republicanism and highlights major themes which are presented throughout the book, including betrayal by the Provisional leadership, rejection of the mainstream normalisation agenda, rejection of reformism, rationale for the PIRA campaign, the ‘winding down’ of the campaign and an assertion of traditional republican principles. The emergence of ‘dissident’ republicanism in 1986 is explored, as well as the narrative which argues that prisoners were used by the Provisional leadership to effect change, citing interviews with individuals who were in the Provisional Movement during that period. A nuanced description of 1986 is presented through interviews with members of the 32CSM who remained with the Provisionals for tactical reasons. Further, interviews are detailed with individuals who departed the Provisionals after 1998 who have centred their opposition around suppression of dissent, rather than ideological changes. The conclusion argues that the organising principles and culture of groups have been influenced by the perceived failings of the Provisional Movement; resulting in the adoption of absolutist positions in an attempt to avoid the slippery slope to constitutionalism. Finally, the conclusion examines the significance of Brexit, the 2016 Westminster elections and the 2017 collapse of Stormont for ‘dissident’ republicanism.