the orange order and british protestant ethnicity a comparative perspective l.
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The Orange Order and British Protestant Ethnicity: A Comparative Perspective. The Orange Order. Fraternity formed 1795 in Northern Ireland Stands for loyalty to British Crown & Protestantism Political Protestantism, NOT evangelical Protestantism. More ethnic than religious.

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the orange order
The Orange Order
  • Fraternity formed 1795 in Northern Ireland
  • Stands for loyalty to British Crown & Protestantism
  • Political Protestantism, NOT evangelical Protestantism. More ethnic than religious.
  • Associative cornerstone of British-Protestant ethnicity in several places
  • Britannic ethno-nationalist
  • Rapid international spread
esrc research
ESRC Research
  • Fellowship focuses on dominant ethnicity and social change
  • Issue of how ethnic cores of nations deal with liberal modernity and globalisation
  • Orange Order as the associational glue behind dominant ethnicity in N.I., Canada, W.C. Scotland
  • Devolution Programme Grant looks at Orange-UUP link in Northern Ireland
main research questions
Main Research Questions
  • What factors cause per capita Orange membership strength to rise and fall over time and across place? (social question)
  • How effective is the Orange Order in determining policy change, and why does its power rise and fall over time and place? (political question)
research methodology
Research Methodology
  • Quantitative: Compare Orange membership among Protestants with variables from census, police reports, history, polls. Over time and across county and ‘province’ (N.I., Scotland, Nfld., Ontario)
  • Qualitative: Compare Orange resolutions and organised political activity over time and place. Look at class profile of elite and membership over time. Interviews.
  • Sources: Previously unseen internal documents; census, polls, violence stats, valuation rolls, some newspapers
current presentation
Current Presentation
  • Will focus on quantitative research since that has been initial thrust
  • Happy to answer technical and qualitative questions as well
analysis of variation in membership patterns
Analysis of Variation in Membership Patterns
  • International Patterns (v. Canada, Scotland)
  • Variation over Time in Northern Ireland
  • Variation by County in Northern Ireland
  • Inter-Fraternal Patterns (v. Masons, IOOF)
  • Theories of Change
  • Results of Statistical Analyses
inter county patterns n i orangeism
Inter-County Patterns, N.I. Orangeism
  • General decline since membership peak in early 1960’s (mid-Ulster), or 50’s (East)
  • Height of the ‘Troubles’ (1969-72) boosted membership temporarily, as did Anglo-Irish Agreement and Drumcree
  • However, general trend is a steady decline
  • Urban areas suffer heavier declines, even taking into account population flows.
international orange similarities
International Orange Similarities
  • All jurisdictions experience growth until the 1920’s
  • All decline in the Depression years
  • All experience growth after World War II
  • All experience steady decline in recent decades
  • N.I; Scotland 1; Scotland 2 ; Ontario; Newfoundland
international differences
International Differences
  • Membership decline sets in as early as the 1920’s in Canada and decline in the 1920-39 period is sharper
  • Membership decline in the post-1960 period has been quicker in Canada, while Northern Ireland and Scotland have declined at similar steady rates
inter fraternal patterns
Inter-Fraternal Patterns
  • Orange Order has withstood post-1970 declines better than Masonic NI2
  • Inter-County Patterns in Masonic match those of Orange NI3
  • Great deal of similarity in shape of historical patterns of membership across nations and fraternities
  • Great deal of difference between places and fraternities in terms of slope of rise/decline in membership
theories of fraternal change
Theories of Fraternal Change
  • Beito: Decline in 1920’s as welfare state emerges
  • Emery: Decline in 1920’s or 30’s due to private insurance and expanded recreational options
  • Putnam: Depression caused decline, WWII boosted membership. Differences in ‘Social Capital’ between Generations explains most of post-1960 decline.
  • Culturalist: Decline of Protestant Religiosity (Bruce?), Decline of Loyalty to Crown, Decline of British-Protestant Ethnic Identity, Ecumenism
preliminary research qualitative
Preliminary Research: Qualitative
  • Based on Interviews & Reports
  • Leaders and Rank-and-file members point to structuralforces
  • But nearly all admit cultural pressures
  • Also speak of role of events
  • Institutional changes not seen as significant by members - though leaders think otherwise
  • Qualitative evidence inconclusive
preliminary statistical tests across county
Preliminary Statistical Tests – Across County
  • NI: Catholic Population is by far the most important determinant. Economic factors not important (1901-71). Denomination key: % RC and %Other Protestant increase membership; %Methodist and % Presbyterian strongly decrease it.
quantitative analysis scotland and canada
Quantitative Analysis: Scotland and Canada
  • SCT: Catholic population most important determinant, as with NI case. Irish born population of fifty years ago is also very important. All other factors pale in comparison. (for 1901-71)
  • ONT: No strong factor - Irish Protestant population most powerful. Proportion Irish, French or Catholic has limited effect. (1911-41)
preliminary statistical tests across time
Preliminary Statistical Tests – Across Time
  • Denominational balance (esp. rise of Methodism and Other Protestant sects) important during 1901-71.
  • Orangeism in N.I. responded to RC population growth until 1970, but not since then
  • Political events (Troubles, Peace Agreements, Drumcree) have been a factor in N.I. post-1970
  • Rate of Protestant fatalities have had little impact in N.I. since 1970
  • High-school education appears correlated with membership decline in Ontario during 1955-75
  • Still more work needed in this and other areas
  • Orangeism was a worldwide movement though strongest in Ulster and eastern Canada
  • Orangeism’s rise owed a lot to inter-ethnic conflict with a Catholic ethnie. Relatively Catholic counties in N.I. and Scotland have far more ‘Orange’ Protestants
conclusion ii
Conclusion II
  • The role of economic change is minimal during the period 1891-1971 in all areas
  • The role of events is only truly important in N.I. – especially in the post-Troubles period
  • Strong evidence against ‘contact’ hypothesis
  • No real answer as to why Orangeism in decline
  • Evidence appears to support Putnam thesis, though more work needed with respect to generation, as well as time-series analysis
further research
Further Research
  • Inclusion of 1971-2001 census data
  • Time Series Analysis using Opinion polls from post-1969 period
  • Examination of Initiations, as well as Junior and Female trends
  • Qualitative Research on Political Strength