The Decline of the Loyal Family?:
Popular Unionism and
the Devolution Process
Henry Patterson, Eric Kaufmann
In Page Navigation
The project will explore the relationship between popular Unionism, in the form of the Orange Order and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and the devolution process. It will examine the hypothesis that both the quantity and quality of popular Unionism significantly affect the scope for devolution.
Many current analyses of devolution locate its origins in minority nationalism, while neglecting the critical dimension of Unionism – the majority’s ‘nationalism’. Even where Unionism is addressed, as in Northern Ireland, too much attention is focussed on the relatively marginal activities of the paramilitaries or the Democratic Unionist Party’s more flamboyant variety of Unionism while neglecting the mainstream Orange Order and the Ulster Unionist Party.
The impetus behind this research springs from two sources: one contemporary, the other theoretical. We will be addressing the contemporary issues by way of an in-depth analysis of the UUP and the Orange Order. This Northern Ireland research will feed into our theoretical mission to test the theory that the quantity and quality of popular Unionist ‘nationalism’ greatly affects the scope for devolution.
The aim of the research is to explore the changing relationship between the different structures and contexts of devolution and popular Unionism. It will:
- Collect and analyse primary source documentary and interview data on the Ulster Unionist Party from partition to the present
- Collect and analyse primary source quantitative and qualitative (documentary and interview) on the Orange Order in Northern Ireland in the twentieth century
- Contribute to the development of theories of social and political change, both within Northern Ireland and at a more general level
- Contribute to academic and lay knowledge of popular Unionism by disseminating research in the form of data sets, conference papers, workshop presentations, project updates, journal articles and books
- Contribute to the policymaking process in Northern Ireland by disseminating the research to British and Irish officials, the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, non-governmental organisations and government-sponsored research centres.
The project will use both qualitative and quantitative methods. On the Ulster Unionist Party an historical frame of reference will be provided by research on the Ulster Unionist Council Papers in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland .
This work will be supplemented by extensive structured interviews with rank-and-file UUP members from across the Province. Research on the Orange Order will be based on documentary evidence from Orange lodge archives . These will be compared, using statistical techniques, with material from the census, family expenditure surveys, police records and attitude surveys to explain which factors - techno-economic changes, political events or cultural shifts – tend to affect Orange membership in the longer term.
The detailed research will provide the basis for an analysis of the dynamics of Unionist identity (i.e. ethnic vs civic, Britannic vs Ulster-Protestant, singular vs multiple). It will also illuminate some of the important institutional mechanics within the UUP and the social bases of pro and anti-Agreement sentiment.
Bryan: Representing a New Northern Ireland: Sites of Creation and Contest in Devolved Governance
Mac Ginty: Public Attitudes to Devolution and National Identity in Northern Ireland
Phillips: British Island Stories: History, Identity and Nationalism
Professor Henry Patterson
School of Politics
University of Ulster
Tel: 028 9036 6644
Department of Politics
University of Southampton
|Duration of Project:
||1 April 2002 - 30 September 2003
|Amount of Award:
|ERSC Project Number:
L219 25 2131