Faith, crown and state: Contemporary discourses within the orange order in Northern Ireland

James W. McAuley, Jon Tonge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a decline in membership in recent decades the Orange Order remains one of the largest and most significant organisations within civil society in Northern Ireland, representing a significant proportion of the Protestant population. The Orange Order claims a moral and political rationale to opposition to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and many of the political consequences that have followed. Drawing upon a large membership survey of the Orange institution (the first such survey ever undertaken), and abetted by in-depth semi-structured interviews, this paper examines core political and social attitudes of Orange Order members in a post-conflict environment. It identifies core discourses on offer within Orangeism, and how these structure responses to contemporary events. It concludes that the maintenance of "traditional" discourses within the Orange Order (seen by its critics as a barrier to the modernisation of unionism) may be key to its endurance against the odds in a changing political context and increasingly secularized world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-155
Number of pages20
JournalPeace and Conflict Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


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