Opening with an ethnographic description of a moment of crisis in the Orange Social Club that forms a key field-site for the rest of the book, the Introduction proceeds to outline the key research questions which frame the text – questions about the nature of religion as a political and ethnic signifier. Next, the Introduction situates the importance of these questions within two interlocking debates within anthropology, concerning the place of Christianity and ethics/morality as ethnographic subjects in need of urgent attention and reconsideration. The answer this chapter introduces, and which is then unpacked throughout the rest of the book, is that Orange claims about Protestant exceptionalism, if they are to be understood properly, require anthropologists and other ethnographers to rethink what can legitimately be included within scholarly and common-sense definitions of ‘The Good’. The chapter offers a survey of the (seemingly contradictory) ideological heterogeneity, demographic homogeneity, and moral/ethical duality of the Orange Order in Scotland. Before ending with a summary of the main ethnographic and conceptual themes of the book, the chapter offers some reflexive commentary on methods and ethics in the context of conducting research with what many consider to be politically toxic social groups.
This chapter offers a detailed ethnographic analysis of the Grand Orange Lodge Archive as a space where Orangemen act as amateur historians to produce historical accounts which make sense of the claimed primordial sectarian conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The empirical focus is on three Orange archivists, plus visitors to the archive, and their discussions about how contemporary Scottish society and politics is being shaped by the long-standing threats of papal aggression, Irish republicanism, and Scottish nationalism. Analytically, the chapter makes use of new theories of conspiracism to suggest that Orange history-making offers members of the Order a coherent and powerful a theodicy with which to interpret the world around them. The chapter concludes by warning against exoticising such conspiracy beliefs, suggesting that there is a strong hermeneutic elective affinity between certain types of conspiracism and certain versions of anthropological theory-building.
This book offers the first ever ethnography of the Orange Order in Scotland via an in-depth analysis of ‘The Good’ of exceptionalism. While stylistically similar to Freemasonry, the Orange Order differs in being a strictly Protestant-only fraternity committed to preserving the Reformation and the constitutional union of the United Kingdom. Established in late eighteenth-century Ulster, the Order today is not only ultra-Protestant and ultra-unionist, but, according to critics, is also deeply sectarian, viewing Roman Catholicism as a despotic religious-cum-political ‘menace’ dedicated to destroying Great Britain. Through a fine-grained anthropological account of Orangeism during the Scottish independence debate, this book takes readers inside Scotland’s most infamous fraternal organisation – an organisation which members refer to not as a secret society, but as a ‘society with secrets’. What, according to these Scottish Orangemen, should a good Protestant life look like? By drawing on new literature within the anthropology of ethics and morality, this book answers this central question by examining the culture of Scottish Orangeism in the widest possible sense, assessing the importance not only of loyalist marches and unionist political campaigning, but also Orange gossip and fraternal drinking, the performance of ritual and secrecy, celebrations of football fandom and sectarian hate, as well as the formation and sharing of anti-Catholic conspiracy narratives. Combining ethnographic depth with analytical breadth, this book argues that what makes the Order so compelling to members yet so repugnant to its critics is its steadfast refusal to separate religion from politics and fraternity from ethnicity.
This chapter sets out the historical and contemporary context of the Orange Order. It starts with a discussion of the status of historical knowledge, arguing that an understanding of Scottish Orangeism should not seek to elicit unchallengeable fact-based historical truth, but should reflect on Orange uses of history. What this chapter opens with, then, is not just historical context, but an ethnography of historical context. Next, the chapter offers a deliberately selective history of the conflict between James II and William III who stand as the anti-hero and hero of Orangeism. The chapter explains the emergence of early Orangeism in Ireland, both in relation to Freemasonry, and in relation to the agrarian disputes between Catholics and Protestants in mid-Ulster in the eighteenth century in the context of the Penal Laws. Moving to Scotland, the chapter outlines how Orangeism came to Glasgow and spread east during industrialisation and migration from Ulster. The chapter also considers how the Troubles in Northern Ireland have profoundly shaped Scottish Orangeism, and how this influence continues to produce tensions between grass-roots Orangemen and the Orange hierarchy who remain divided over the value of gaining wider political and social acceptance within Scottish society.
This chapter analyses the public face of the Orange Order, namely its parading culture, and does so by comparing these events to the private sphere of the Lodge, and specifically secret Orange initiation rituals. Importantly, the purpose of the chapter is not to take for granted this public/private dichotomy, but to challenge it. This challenge is offered via a connected reconsideration of the dynamics of revelation and concealment, and suggests that while parades may be understood as ‘revelation-as-concealment’, initiation rituals may be understood as ‘concealment-as-revelation’. By taking the image of the publicly displayed Orange parade banner, and contrasting it with the Orange initiation blindfold, the chapter offers a re-reading of Simmel’s famous work on secrecy to suggest that public banners may maintain secrecy while blindfolds may actually give sight. By giving particular attention to Simmel’s analysis of secrecy as a kind of enlargement, the chapter concludes by suggesting that, for Orangemen, the rituals of parading and initiation act to confirm (as opposed to impart) their status as members of an exceptional Protestant elite.
This book is the first comprehensive study of Muslim migrant integration in rural Britain across the post-1960s period. It uses the county of Wiltshire as a case study, and assesses both local authority policies and strategies, and Muslim communities’ personal experiences of migration and integration. It draws upon previously unexplored archival material and oral histories, and addresses a range of topics and themes, including entrepreneurship, housing, education, multiculturalism, social cohesion, and religious identities, needs and practices. It challenges the long-held assumption that local authorities in more rural areas have been inactive, and even disinterested, in devising and implementing migration, integration and diversity policies, and it sheds light on small and dispersed Muslim communities that have traditionally been written out of Britain’s immigration history. It reveals what is a clear, and often complex, relationship between rurality and integration, and shows how both local authority policies and Muslim migrants’ experiences have long been rooted in, and shaped by, their rural settings and the prevalence of small ethnic minority communities and Muslim populations in particular. The study’s findings and conclusions build upon research on migration and integration at the rural level, as well as local-level migrant policies, experiences and integration, and uncover what has long been a rural dimension to Muslim integration in Britain.
Muslim integration, the rural dimension and research implications
This chapter shows how the book’s findings and conclusions move beyond the novelty of the Wiltshire case study and have implications for various bodies of research addressing Britain and beyond. These consist of research on migration and integration at the rural level, that which examines the relationship between national- and local-level migration policies across the post-1960s period, and studies that support the shift in focus from the traditional national model to the local aspect of migrant integration. Furthermore, this chapter champions the importance of studying Muslim migrant communities at a grassroots level, as well as adopting a more interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach to migration history. Overall, it argues that there is a need to move beyond the image of the rural idyll, and that the study of Muslim settlement and integration in more peripheral and non-metropolitan areas builds upon and develops various different bodies of scholarship.
Muslim integration in Britain - a theoretical and analytical framework
The introduction offers an insight into what is a multidisciplinary, sizeable and vibrant academic literature on Muslims in post-war Britain. It outlines the main arguments and theories regarding migration, integration, racism, multiculturalism and Muslim communities in more rural, peripheral and non-metropolitan areas. It presents and explains the study’s aims, rationale and methodology, and introduces the key arguments and themes that run throughout the book through which it makes a contribution to academic scholarship. Finally, it offers an overview of the book’s source material and structure, as well as synopses of the chapters that follow.
This chapter addresses local government policy in Wiltshire between the early 1960s and the implementation of the Race Relations Act 1976. It charts local policy through the arrival of the first waves of post-war immigration to the county, and offers an insight into how policymakers perceived and addressed the integration, accommodation and experiences of Muslim migrants. Despite persistent claims that more rural areas in Britain shied away from devising policies and strategies due to their numerically small immigrant communities, a range of measures were introduced in Wiltshire, especially in the areas of education, the resettlement of Ugandan Asians and community relations. Furthermore, this chapter also exposes how Wiltshire’s local authority went some way towards considering the religious affiliations and needs of its Muslim communities specifically during this period.
Anti-racism, equal opportunities, community cohesion and religious identity in a rural space, 1999 onwards
This is the last chapter to examine local government policy in Wiltshire and it focuses on the post-1999 period. It traces the county’s immigrant, integration and diversity policies as Wiltshire’s local administration once again balanced a national-level directive and mandate with local circumstances and particularism. Local policies and measures during this period were influenced by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Macpherson Report and the focus on community cohesion, as well as the importance awarded to anti-racism, equal opportunities and religious identity. Yet they were simultaneously underpinned by an inherent rurality, and an awareness that migrant communities in smaller and more isolated areas were potentially more difficult to reach. Policies discussed include Wiltshire County Council’s first race equality scheme, and a range of measures that addressed health and social services, valued culture and religion, and increasingly recognised, and responded to the needs of, Muslim communities across the county.