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From Galway to Cloyne and beyond

This book engages with the spectacular disenchantment with Catholicism in Ireland over the relatively short period of four decades. It begins with the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and in particular his address to young people in Galway, where the crowd had been entertained beforehand by two of Ireland’s most celebrated clerics, Bishop Eamon Casey and Fr Michael Cleary, both of whom were engaged at the time in romantic affairs that resulted in the birth of children. It will be argued that the Pope’s visit was prompted by concern at the significant fall in vocations to priesthood and the religious life and the increasing secularism of Irish society.

The book then explores the various referenda that took place during the 1980s on divorce and abortion which, although they resulted in victories for the Church, demonstrated that their hold on the Irish public was weakening. The clerical abuse scandals of the 1990s were the tipping point for an Irish public which was generally resentful of the intrusive and repressive form of Catholicism that had been the norm in Ireland since the formation of the State in the 1920s.

Boasting an impressive array of contributors from various backgrounds and expertise, the essays in the book attempt to delineate the exact reasons for the progressive dismantling of the cultural legacy of Catholicism and the consequences this has had on Irish society. Among the contributors are Patricia Casey, Joe Cleary, Michael Cronin, Louise Fuller, Patsy McGarry, Vincent Twomey and Eamonn Wall.

Women as citizens
Shailja Sharma

This chapter examines the special position women hold in a discussion of minority rights. They are seen as victims who need rescuing or as sexual exotic beings. This was as true under colonialism as it is now, particularly with regard to Muslim women. The logic of “civilising” is inherent to this logic, particularly expressed around what is seen as an inferior culture. Feminists are not exempt from this attitude. I examine the politics around the veiling issue in France, and forced marriages in Britain, as examples of this trend.

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Shailja Sharma

This chapter looks at the theory of citizenship through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines the practice and definition of multi-ethnic and multicultural citizenship in both Britain and France, especially in regard to postcolonial migrants and their children.

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Abstract only
Migrants into minorities
Shailja Sharma
in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
The backlash against multiculturalism
Shailja Sharma

This chapter look at the hyphen between nation and state in the term in nation-state. It theorises that the nation is ideologically and culturally constructed as opposed to the state. Minorities have to be integrated in both formations. However while they are legally part of the state and are citizens, they are excluded from the nation at many levels. Thus they live a hyphenated existence, between two formations.

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Shailja Sharma

This chapter examines the security challenges as they have recently been articulated with regard to minorities. The fear of Islam, radicalisation and terrorism from Muslim populations is seen as a religious issue whereas the real issue is their lack of integration. Multi-generational poverty, a lack of education are still not being addressed. The chapter examines specific cases of armed violence and places them in the context of minority socio-economic problems. Secondly the chapter looks at the historical parallels between how native populations were treted under colonialism and how postcolonial minorities are treated now.

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
In the hyphen of the nation-state
Author: Shailja Sharma

The book analyses why religious and racial minorities in Britain and France are unable to integrate into the nation-state. By examining their religious and cultural integration as well as their postcolonial status, I make the argument that historical attitudes towards postcolonial minorities make it very hard for them to be integrated into national life even as they become legal citizens.

Islam and the contestation of citizenship
Shailja Sharma

This chapter examines how a religion like Islam and its rise to prominence has become a covert way to talk about race. This is both historically true and is being practiced in contemporary Europe. Islam has served as a category which combines religious and ethnic otherness. Fictive ethnicity has found a convenient opponent in the fictive otherness Islam represents. Islam has become useful shorthand for conflicting policies and exclusionary rhetoric, challenging the impulse to inclusion and assimilation in these countries.

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Knowledge institutions and the rebalancing of power, 1937– 73
Authors: Peter Murray and Maria Feeney

From British rule the independent Irish state inherited an effectively denominational system of university education and a complementary set of science and arts institutions. Under independent rule denominational influence increased and resource starvation prevailed until the end of the 1950s. Then, as the formation of human capital, education began to be treated as an input into economic growth and American initiatives stimulated new research activity. These changes played a vital role in the rebalancing of power between the Catholic Church and the state. Social science, where the Catholic Church had been a monopoly provider, supplies a dramatic case study of the interlinking of this power shift with the process of knowledge generation.

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Peter Murray and Maria Feeney

Chapter 7 concludes the study by first noting how ambivalently clerical sociologists responded to the changes wrought by state planning practice in the 1960s. Demands from champions of such planning that the discipline should begin to play a different societal role are next examined. During the 1970s the Hierarchy combined failure to plan for a continuation of a significant clerical presence among practitioners of sociology with the casting of itself as the conscience of Irish society. The warding off of abortion, contraception and divorce was thereby entrusted to a highly selective but this-worldly `sociological’ empiricism rather than to theological dogmatism. Initially successful, this strategy has become progressively less effective as popular confidence in church leaders has declined dramatically. Detached from the institution the framed the working lives of their disciplinary predecessors, today’s sociologists debate the respective contributions that factors such as higher education levels, economic marginalisation of the poorly educated and the uncovering of hidden histories of the abuse of clerical power have made to this decline.

in Church, state and social science in Ireland