The republican Imaginary

Adrian Millar

in Socio-ideological Fantasy and the Northern Ireland Conflict

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780719066962
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701515 | DOI:
The republican Imaginary

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Using interview material, this chapter examines the rationalisations involved in the imaginary dimension of republicans' relations with socially and politically significant others, principally members of the Protestant community. Imaginary relations are revealed in the primary operations of the ego, namely negation (where whatever is repressed may make its way into consciousness on condition that it is denied), projection, and splitting. Otherwise, imaginary relations are revealed in contradictions, jokes, mistakes, absences, silence, re-takes, hesitation, cuts in the text, etc. It is typical of the interviewees to represent the religion of ‘the other side’ as being a non-issue, a matter of indifference. Bigotry in relation to Protestants, which is consciously denied by republican interviewees, surfaces in this way in imaginary relations. Members of the Catholic community wish to believe that Protestantism is not an issue for them in contrast with Protestants whom they wish to present as being obsessed with Catholicism, fearful of this and bigoted against Catholics to the extent that they instil this bigotry into their children. The notion that republicanism precludes sectarianism and bigotry is an illusion.

Keywords: Protestants; Catholics; republicans; imaginary relations; rationalisations; ego; negation; projection; splitting; bigotry

Chapter.  20082 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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