“History has no premeditated design..”

At OpenDemocracy Arthur Aughey, of the University of Ulster, reviews Irish Protestant Identities edited by Mervyn Busteed, Frank Neal and Jonathan Tonge, and invokes Michael Oakeshott’s “image of the dry stone wall to conjure the relation of historical.” An interesting review of what looks to be a very interesting collection of essays touching on, amongst other points, crude stereotyping, the Un-Irish and the Northern Irish identity. From Arthur Aughey’s review.

The dry wall image shifts the focus from destiny to how people and events stand in relation to one another. Some things come on to the agenda but some things also go off. Some things come up for debate but others are settled, at least pro tem. Some things may improve but others may get worse. The dry stone wall of Irish history changes shape, as does the perspective on the relations between its parts, with each modification and addition to it. The eccentricities, irregularities, inconsistencies and – some may think – absurdities, are not defects or irrationalities but actually its constitutive characteristics. Then again, these things are not ‘set in stone’. They are not ‘natural’ but ‘artificial’ in the sense that they are the contingent outcomes of political artifice and so are always open to amendment.

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  • dewi

    Sounds a fascinating book – but £60 – that’s a lot of dosh.

  • Gael gan Náire

    I had an interested look at the book but I literally threw it down when I saw the price.

  • 6countyprod

    Get your local library to order a copy.

  • Franzipan

    Normal for books like this to be released later in soft cover at a much lower price.

  • Franzipan
  • Pete Baker

    In the meantime, there should be enough content in the review to comment on.

  • The dry stone wall of Irish history changes shape, as does the perspective on the relations between its parts, with each modification and addition to it… They are not ‘natural’ but ‘artificial’ in the sense that they are the contingent outcomes of political artifice and so are always open to amendment.

    Has the review anything to say, or has he got stuck up his own… metaphor?

  • frustrated democrat

    Why can’t he write in plain English so it can be understood?

  • Driftwood

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7797349.stm

    Good to know that Gerry Adams , who masterminded the La Mon massacre, is now interested in ‘irish protestant identities’. Pity he didn’t before he ordered the murder of dozens of ‘Irish Collie club’ members. What a guy!. code name here is ‘death’ how coincidental?

  • Greenflag

    ‘identities ‘

    Doesn’t matter anymore . The Irish have won the politics contest and the agnostics and secularists have won the religious conflict . There is a place for Irish protestantism and Irish catholicism just as there is for English Anglicanism i.e on the outer fringes of a mostly secularised society . At least for another hundred years or so .

  • Greenflag

    Identity can be a party pooper ;(

    A devout Free Presbyterian couple meet their minister at the church to consult on their upcoming wedding . They have a problem on their minds .

    ‘Minister ,my fiancee and I really want to dance together at our celebration’ says Billy. ‘Can we do that ‘?

    ‘Absolutely not ‘replies the minister .’Dancing is the devil’s work’
    ‘Fine ‘ says Eileen (the future bride). ‘What about sex ‘? ‘Can we have sex ‘ ?

    ‘Absolutely ‘ says the minister. ‘Genesis 1:28 commands us to be fruitful and multiply’
    ‘Eh how about the woman on top ‘ ? asks Billy

    ‘It’s all okay’ says the Minister as long as you are fruitful and multiply’

    ‘On the kitchen table ‘? asks Eileen
    ‘That doesn’t change anything ‘ Go right ahead ‘ says the minister .

    ‘How about standing up “? asks Billy

    ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT ‘ screams the minister

    ‘Really ? why not ‘? pleads Billy .

    ‘That could lead to dancing ‘ says the Minister 😉

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Ulster’s counties were never set in stone either.