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:

Show Summary Details


This book has shown that the dynamics of the conflict in Northern Ireland are more than simply a matter of two ethnic groups (Protestants and Catholics) suffering from constitutional and political insecurity that causes them to clash over their different national aspirations (John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary's view), or a struggle for national freedom (the republican view), or defence of the status quo (the loyalist view). The interpretation and self-interpretation of any group is complex: the formal articulation of their views is never the whole story. Ethno-national issues must be seen within the wider framework of the Symbolic, Imaginary and Real. The interplay of all three orders results in totalising socio-ideological fantasies based on self-idealisation and illusion that hide both communities' unconscious desires from themselves and reproduce division and antagonism. An examination of the unconscious unearthed some of the rationalisations that these fantasies involve. A Lacanian psychoanalysis of the unconscious in situations of conflict helps remove the cloak that communities unconsciously use to protect themselves.

Keywords: conflict; Northern Ireland; Protestants; Catholics; self-interpretation; socio-ideological fantasies; division; antagonism; Lacanian psychoanalysis; self-idealisation

Chapter.  4073 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.