Acts of Union: Youth Culture and Sectarianism in Northern by Desmond Bell

By Desmond Bell

Over the past two decades, a chain of youth generations have come of age in strife-torn Ulster. children boost a feeling of ethnic information - as Ulster Protestant or Irish Catholic - in a scenario of political hindrance and sectarian war of words. utilizing ethnographic tools, Desmond Bell explores the subcultural global of younger Loyalists and examines the position of youngster cultural practices within the copy of ethnic identification and within the reconstruction of culture in Irish society.

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More recently, we might add it has been spotted in the dole queues, in the drug clinics, at the 'cider party' and boarding the emigrant ship. Taylor and his researchers systematically examined press reports from the leading newspapers in Northern Ireland in 1976 dealing explicitly with youth issues. Their content analysis revealed that over half the newspapers' coverage was devoted to stories concerned with either the involvement of young people in paramilitary activity or vandalism. On the other hand, despite the deteriorating economic climate, less than 5 per cent of the examined articles dealt with the issue of youth and unemployment.

Social researchers have claimed (Jenvey, 1972) that one of the major effects of living with the Troubles has been to direct the young away from rebellion against the adult world, characteristic of their age group, towards conformity with their parents and the local community. Again adolescents are either treated as the passive initiates into the 'traditional' or as in full flight from communal identities. Thus, Jenvey can argue that the intensity of the communal conflict and Youth in Irish Social Thought 49 resulting ghettoization of residential life have led to the situation where, 'it is not surprising that the "generation gap" has been cruelly bridged'.

Again adolescents are either treated as the passive initiates into the 'traditional' or as in full flight from communal identities. Thus, Jenvey can argue that the intensity of the communal conflict and Youth in Irish Social Thought 49 resulting ghettoization of residential life have led to the situation where, 'it is not surprising that the "generation gap" has been cruelly bridged'. We see at work here once again a theory which views youth subcultural formations as constituting a total rupture from a culture of tradition.

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