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The Troubles in Ballybogoin

Memory and Identity in Northern Ireland

William F. Kelleher, Jr.

Publication Year: 2003

. . . Bill Kelleher brings the reader in to the heart of Northern Ireland and its long, tragic conflict. Northern Ireland, in all its complexity, is authentically rendered. -Robert Connolly, writer and co-director, The Road to Reconciliation ". . . this exemplary ethnography is among the best books on Northern Ireland, and one of the very few that makes human sense of daily sectarian life." -Lawrence Taylor, National University of Ireland, Maynooth "More than a tour-a moving narrative." -David Stark, Columbia University "This is a wonderful contribution to Irish studies, postcolonial studies, and anthropology." -Bego-a Ar+txaga, University of Texas, Austin "It is a book that will be widely read and greatly appreciated." --David Lloyd, Scripps College

Published by: University of Michigan Press

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

This book is about identity in Northern Ireland. In it, I delineate and interpret a number of sites where the work of identity formation takes place in and around Ballybogoin, a town in the western region of the province. Ballybogoin, a fictitious name, is a socially and politically...

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pp. 1-21

Back then, in 1985, in the context of a conversation aroused by my surprise at how much of my recent private life the baker and several of his friends knew, this enunciation indicated that I should not be bothered by the local knowledge accumulating about me, that stories moved fast...

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1. Mapping Moves

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pp. 23-60

Eamon Collins was an IRA intelligence offcer who joined the Provisional IRA in 1979, was expelled from it in 1987, and, many people surmise, was murdered by members of it in 1999. Responsible for organizing a number of brutal murders and bombings in the 1980s, he was...

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2. Dividing Space and Making “Race”

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pp. 61-86

In Ballybogoin on the last Sunday in May 1984, eleven-year-old Patrick, a Roman Catholic, knocked at the door of my one-room cottage that stood adjacent to his home. He uttered, “it’s a blistr’n hot day,” as he entered the door, but he, like most Ballybogoin people, was glad of it. ...

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3. Writing Ireland

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pp. 87-103

Racialization practices exclude, and their combination of politicized semiotic systems and institutional power has become, in this period of decolonization, objects of struggle. Ethnographies have also become contested items in this period of predicament, and the struggle has given...

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4. Living the Limit

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pp. 105-133

Ballybogoin town’s center approximates the hub of a wheel. Streets and alleys radiate from the busy, elongated, rectangular space Ballybogoiners call “the square” and meander by sundry small shops, bakeries, bookies, pubs, and Protestant churches. The southeasterly roads follow...

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5. Organizing against History

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pp. 135-147

Sir Walter Scott’s description of early-nineteenth-century Ireland as a “narrow ground” remains an apt depiction of Ballybogoin in the new century. Events of centuries past have been objectified in state institutions, in associations such as the Orange Order, and in everyday lives as...

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6. Working Memories

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pp. 149-182

In May and June 1985, a five-week strike took place at the Drumcoo Glassworks, one of the Catholic, nationalist enterprises inspired by the movements for social justice in and around Ballybogoin in the 1960s. Prior to the strike, a long one by local standards, the workers had...

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7. Struggling Masculinities

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pp. 183-202

A variety of feminist scholars has cleared a path toward more fully relational studies of class, race, ethnicity, and gender through their critiques of notions proposing an ontological specificity to women as childbearers, as social mothers, or as essentially relational. Such identity categories...

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8. Rendering Accounts

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pp. 203-213

Ballybogoin people, both Catholic and Protestant, but especially Catholic, share some of the same views of the English that Joyce does in the opening quote. In fact, this citation describes what Seamus meant by the term “workin’ work.” Seamus saw the merits, as Joyce did, of that...


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pp. 215-225


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pp. 227-228


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pp. 229-248


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pp. 249-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780472026364
E-ISBN-10: 0472026364
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472089789
Print-ISBN-10: 0472089781

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 3 maps
Publication Year: 2003