Why Examine Men, Masculinities and Religion in Northern Ireland?

  • Sean Brady
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Northern Ireland’s history, and especially that of The Troubles of 1968–98 has received considerable, though far from exhaustive scholarly attention in recent decades. Nonetheless, in much of the scholarship, the centrality of religion and religious differences are elided with emphasis placed on other factors such as economics and class. Much of this scholarship, while gaining some credibility in the academy outside Northern Ireland at the time, has recently been criticised as ahistorical and decontextualised analysis. In this chapter, the tensions and connections between religion, politics and gender formations in Northern Ireland’s history are examined, as is some of the interdisciplinary problems in extant scholarship. Particular emphasis is placed upon religious sectarianism, the centrality of religion in politics and life in the new Northern Ireland state after 1921, and the ways in which these shaped and were shaped by masculinities in Northern Ireland society.


Proportional Representation Hegemonic Masculinity Interwar Period Home Rule Catholic Population 
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Further reading

  1. Arnold, J. H. and S. Brady (eds) (2011) What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  2. Ashe, F. (2012) ‘Gendering War and Peace: Militarized Masculinities in Northern Ireland’, Men and Masculinities, 15(3), 230–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brady, S. (2005) Masculinity and Male Homosexuality in Britain 1861–1913 (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruce, S. (1986) God Save Ulster! The Religion and Politics of Paisleyism (Oxford: Clarendon).Google Scholar
  5. Gialanella Valius, M. (2011) ‘The Politics of Gender in the Irish Free State, 1922–1937’, Women’s History Review, 20(4), 569–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Harris, M. (1993) The Catholic Church and the Foundation of the Northern Irish State (Cork: Cork University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Kauffman, E. (2007) The Orange Order: A Contemporary Northern Irish History (Oxford: OUP).Google Scholar
  8. Magennis, C. and R. Mullen (eds) (2011) Irish Masculinities: Reflections on Literature and Culture (Dublin: Irish Academic Press).Google Scholar
  9. McGaughey, J. (2012) Ulster’s Men: Protestant Unionist Masculinities and Militarization in the North of Ireland 1912–1923 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press).Google Scholar
  10. Mitchell, C. (2006) Religion, Identity and Politics in Northern Ireland: Boundaries of Belonging and Belief (Aldershot: Ashgate).Google Scholar
  11. Valente, J. (2011) The Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880–1922 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press).Google Scholar
  12. Ward, R. (2006) Women, Unionism and Loyalism in Northern Ireland: From ‘Tea-Makers’ to Political Actors (Dublin: Irish Academic Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sean Brady 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean Brady

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