Ethnicizing Ulster’s Protestants? Ulster-Scots education in Northern Ireland

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Publication details

JournalIdentities-Global studies in culture and power
DatePublished - 2018
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)397-416
Original languageEnglish


The Ulster-Scots ethnolinguistic ‘revival,’ often considered to be the ethnic, cultural or linguistic expression of unionism and loyalism, has recently made inroads into schools across Northern Ireland. With intercommunal educational segregation pervasive in the province, the teaching of such an ‘ethnic identity’ has potential sociological ramifications. Utilizing an in-depth textual analysis of the Ulster-Scots Agency’s educational materials and interviews with educationalists and political elites, I contend that although this ethnicization represents a break of sorts with traditional unionist-loyalist ideas rather than an unproblematic reinforcement of them, it holds considerable potential for the deepening of normative senses of communal difference.

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