Liverpool Sectarianism

Keith Daniel Roberts

Published by Liverpool University Press

Published in print December 2017 | ISBN: 9781786940100
Published online January 2018 | e-ISBN: 9781786944276
Liverpool Sectarianism

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For a period spanning two centuries the sectarian (‘orange’ versus ‘green’) divide in Liverpool soured relations between its residents. Indeed, the city’s political representatives were often elected on the basis of their ethno-religious pedigree and street clashes, particularly on the twelfth of July, were commonplace. Politics continued to be influenced by religion until the mid-1970s. Weakening sectarianism, in the limited existing studies, is attributed largely to post-war slum clearance, but this book asserts that causality is much more complex. There are a range of factors that have contributed to the decline. As this book demonstrates, the downfall of sectarianism coincided with the creation of a collective identity; an identity based not on ethno-religious affiliations, but on a commonality, an acknowledgment that principles which united were more significant than factors which divided. Importantly, the success of the city’s two football teams, Everton FC and Liverpool FC, gave the city a new focus based upon a healthy sporting rivalry rather than sectarian vehemence. A complex interplay of secularism and ecumenism, the economic misfortunes of Liverpool and their political impact in terms of class politics, the growth of a collective city identity and the omnipotence of (non-religiously derived) football affiliations combined to diminish Liverpool’s once acute sectarian fault-line. This book examines how and why.

Keywords: Liverpool; Sectarianism; Football; Orange; Irish; Catholic; Protestant; Politics; Religion; Identity

Book.  304 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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