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The Conservative Party and Ulster Unionism: A Case of Elective Affinity

Aughey, Arthur and Gormley-Heenan, Cathy (2015) The Conservative Party and Ulster Unionism: A Case of Elective Affinity. Parliamentary Affairs, - . [Journal article]

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URL: http://pa.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/04/22/pa.gsv011.abstract?keytype=ref&ijkey=82bdu1Iyn6UzwAl

DOI: 10.1093/pa/gsv011


This article engages with the perennial matter of the relationship between ideas and interests in British party politics, in particular that relationship within Conservative and Unionist politics. After a preliminary consideration of the contemporary understanding of ideology as complex and fluid rather than fixed and settled, the article examines a way of capturing paradoxical aspects of ideological thinking—that it is self-chosen or the result of a changing perspective and yet also apparently natural or in Conservative terms, ‘common sense’. It does so by exploring the intellectual lineage of ‘elective affinity’ and assesses its value for understanding how political identities not only endure but also how those identities change. An attempt is made to give some substance to that understanding by viewing through that lens of elective affinity the association between Conservatives and Ulster Unionists in its historical, ideological and institutional contexts.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Conservative Elective affinity Ideology Northern Ireland UK Unionist
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Politics & International Studies
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:31438
Deposited By: Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan
Deposited On:26 Apr 2015 08:28
Last Modified:26 Apr 2015 08:28

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