This book examines the ways in which contentious parades and protests in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland are contested by affective publics mobilised on social media. In this way, it will contribute to the extant interdisciplinary scholarship on digital citizenship and the role of digital media in contemporary social movements. This chapter contextualises the research findings presented throughout this book by exploring three key issues. First, it introduces the contentiouspolitics framework and applies it to the Northern Irish conflict. Second, it explores
This book explores how social media are used by citizens to frame contentious parades and protests in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland. It provides the first in-depth analysis of how Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were used by citizens to contest the 2013 union flag protests and the Ardoyne parade dispute (2014 and 2015). An essential read for researchers interested in digital mis- and disinformation, it will examine how citizens engaged with false information circulating on these platforms that had the potential to inflame sectarian tensions during these contentious episodes. It also considers the implications of this online activity for efforts to build peace in deeply divided societies such as Northern Ireland. The book uses a qualitative thematic approach to analyse Facebook, Twitter and YouTube content generated during the flag protests and Ardoyne parade dispute between 2012 and 2016. It also draws on semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders including bloggers, political commentators and communication officers from the main political parties, as well as the results of a qualitative content analysis of newspaper coverage of these contentious public demonstrations.
Memes and parody accounts are examples of ‘ritualised social media practices’ that are frequently used to provide irreverent commentary on contentiouspolitical issues and hybrid media events ( Highfield, 2016b ). Hashtags such as #flegs hosted public expression about the flag protests that was more often than not irreverent rather than malicious. Much of this activity revolved around parody accounts, with self-styled ‘sitcom’ Loyalists Against Democracy (LAD) emerging as one of the most prominent critics of the protest movement. 1 There was a team of ‘LAD
Throughout this book I have argued that the flag protests marked a watershed moment in terms of contentiouspolitics in Northern Ireland; henceforth social media provided communicative spaces in which citizens made rights claims in this deeply divided society. The extent to which these nascent acts of ‘digital citizenship’ contribute to peacebuilding ultimately depends on the socio-political context in which such claims are made. During periods of political instability, for instance, affective publics mobilised via online platforms may help and hinder efforts
Brecht-inspired versions of 1965–71. Although the 1984–85
Coriolanus was very different in its ideology from the
Ensemble’s 1965 production, both reveal the consequences of
negotiating contentiouspolitical circumstances through Shakespearean
performance. Hall’s topicality and his public denouncements of the
Arts Council may have informed Gordon’s defence of arts funding
produced a contentiouspolitics of lifting
at the Gov. This focus on lifting was often a discussion had by men about
women. At the same time as women were entering non-traditional printing
trades, the industry was increasingly shifting to offset-lithography, as we
have seen in Chapter 4. The move from letterpress to lithography had
the unrealised potential to unseat the dominant gendering of presses as
‘men’s machines’. Again as we have seen in Chapter 4, lithography, unlike
letterpress, did not involve lifting a heavy letterpress forme (frame holding
Chapter 6 examines the issue of naturalism through the lens of Hobbes and seeks to present a Foucauldian critique which goes ‘beyond nature’, replacing naturalism with constructivism as an approach to ethics. Naturalism, from Foucault’s viewpoint, of the sort that Hobbes is committed to, is simply an alternative route to metaphysics, and asserts postulations that are indemonstrable in an attempt to establish grounds for contentious political, economic, and social philosophical standpoints. The chapter also examines arguments from religion as constituting another form of metaphysics, and, in the closing section, provides a Foucauldian critique of modern social contract theory, as exemplified by John Rawls.
This study seeks to delve beyond the familiar image of Ellen Wilkinson as the leader of the Jarrow Crusade. It has attempted to unearth new evidence to provide a richer understanding of this figure who is remarkable in terms of her achievements, her acquaintances and her witnessing of history’s great turning points. From a humble background, she ascended to the rank of Minister in the 1945 Labour government. Yet she was much more than a conventional Labour politician. She wrote journalism, political theory and novels. She was both a socialist and a feminist; at times, she described herself as a revolutionary. She met Lenin, Trotsky and Gandhi. She visited Soviet Russia, the GM sit-down strikes, the Indian civil disobedience campaign, the Spanish Civil War and the Third Reich. While viewed in the collective imagination as ‘Red Ellen’, whose politics were as red as her hair, her ideas were not static and present a series of puzzles. This study seeks to use transnational and social movement theory perspectives to grabble with the complex itinerary of ideas and her relationship with the movements for social transformation. This research is timely because interest in her life remains. This is in part because her principal concerns—working-class representation, the status of women, capitalist crisis, war, anti-fascism—remain central to contentious politics today.
and programmes, but as a shifting, diverse and often contradictory networks of relationships and interactions, both within its own
space, and with regard to other actors.
The field of contentiouspolitics has emerged from the American ‘classical’ social movement paradigm, but seeks to go beyond it in a number
of key ways, providing tools that are particularly suited to understanding
the Portuguese situation. The relevance of the concept of social movement for this analysis is clear, but social movement theory and methods
are a vast and diversified arena divided by a
contentiouspolitics (Tilly 2008 ; Tilly and
Tarrow 2007 ) characteristic of industrial
capitalism – a politics that hinged around conflict over control
of the workplace and the distribution of the fruits of production.
A second important component of this contentiouspolitics
was the Conservative Party. Although widely (and correctly) seen as the
party most hostile