‘Something That Unites Us All’: Understandings of St. Patrick's Day Parades as Representing the Irish National Group

O'Donnell, Aisling T., Muldoon, Orla T., Blaylock, Danielle L., Stevenson, Clifford, Bryan, Dominic, Reicher, Stephen D. and Pehrson, Samuel (2016) ‘Something That Unites Us All’: Understandings of St. Patrick's Day Parades as Representing the Irish National Group. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 26 (1). pp. 61-74. ISSN 1099-1298

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2236


The present study investigates how attendees at national celebratory crowd events – specifically St. Patrick’s Day parades – understand the role of such events in representing and uniting the national community. We conducted semi-structured interviews with people who attended St. Patrick’s Day parades in either Dublin or Belfast. In year 1, full-length interviews were conducted before and after the events (N=17), and in years 1 and 2, shorter interviews were conducted during the events (year 1 N=170; year 2 N=142). Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis, allowing the identification of three broad themes. Participants reported that (a) the events extend the boundary of the national group, using participation to define who counts as Irish; (b) the events strategically represent the nature of the national group, maximising positive images and managing stereotypical representations (c) symbolism serves to unify the group but can also disrupt already fragile unity, and so must be managed. Overall, this points to a strategic identity dimension to these crowd events. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research in terms of the role of large-scale celebratory events in the strategic representation of everyday social identities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: national identity, social identity, parades, rituals, thematic analysis, crowd psychology
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 09:28
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 15:19
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/608340

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