Sport, Divided Societies and Social Capital in Ireland

David Hassan, Allan EDWARDS

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


It appears that there are few more appropriate examples of the use of sport for the purposes of developing social capital than that of the case of Ireland. With a total population of 7 million, the island, situated on the western seaboard of Europe, is divided between the Republic of Ireland, an independent nation-state, and Northern Ireland, which despite having a devolved assembly, remains constitutionally tied to Britain. In the latter case, despite over a decade of relative peace, there remains a society broadly divided along ethno-sectarian lines. During the latter part of the 20th century, from 1969 to 1998, Northern Ireland was the site of a confl ict between Irish republican paramilitary groupings, mainly the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British state forces over the country’s constitutional future. Some 2,087 civilians died as a result of the confl ict, 910 members of the security forces (including the police and army) and 395 republican paramilitaries also lost their lives during a black period in the country’s short history. Deep wounds remain to this day and refl ect the fact that the majority Protestant and Unionist population in Northern Ireland has a set of political and cultural beliefs which are essentially British whilst the minority Catholic and Nationalist community retain a constitutional and cultural position which sees it align more closely with the rest of Ireland. Of course none of these communities are absolute monoliths and, on both sides, a fair degree of moderation is on display
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Capital and Sport Governance in Europe
EditorsMargaret Groeneveld, Barrie Houlihan, Fabien Ohl
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781136937484
ISBN (Print)9780415876094
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventSports Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) Conference - Gold Coast, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 26 Nov 200929 Nov 2009


ConferenceSports Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) Conference
CityGold Coast


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