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The pride of East Belfast: Glentoran Football Club and the (re)production of Ulster Unionist identities in Northern Ireland

Bleakney, Judith and Darby, Paul (2017) The pride of East Belfast: Glentoran Football Club and the (re)production of Ulster Unionist identities in Northern Ireland. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Online . pp. 1-21. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1177/1012690217690346


It has become a truism that football provides a revealing window into how various forms of identity are (re)produced. There is a not insubstantial body of academic work which illustrates that football in Northern Ireland has long served as a vehicle for individuals to come together, develop a sense of belonging, share in common bonds of loyalty and articulate both semantic and syntactical forms of identity. This certainly holds true for the country’s Ulster unionist population. Indeed, in many ways, the game has been inextricably bound up with the development of unionist politics and identities. As such, football and football clubs in Northern Ireland represent a particularly useful, yet currently under-utilised, lens through which to analyse the development and nature of the identities of the majority population and how these have manifested themselves in civil society at various points in time. Better understanding how these identities are generated and articulated is important in the context of a society emerging from almost four decades of internecine, ethno-sectarian conflict and particularly at a time when sections of the unionist community have grown disaffected at what they consider to be deliberate attempts to dilute and diminish their identity and cultural traditions. This article contributes to and expands on what is barely a fledgling scholarship on sport and Ulster unionism by examining the ways in which unionist and loyalist identities have developed through and coalesced around Glentoran Football Club, one of Northern Ireland’s leading domestic teams.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Football, Glentoran, Identities, Northern Ireland, Unionism/loyalism
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sport in Society
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
ID Code:36692
Deposited By: Dr Paul Darby
Deposited On:24 Jan 2017 09:21
Last Modified:09 Jul 2019 15:34

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