Postmodern Europe and the resources of communal identities in Northern Ireland

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Irish Nationalist and Ulster Unionist communal identities have territorial, cultural and economic resources. Catalysts that have mobilized these resources and produced political action include 19th century famine and the Northern Ireland civil rights campaign of the late 1960s. As we approach the 21st century and the conditions and concepts of postmodernity initiate change in the structure and operation of the state, the European Union may realize its potential to affect the resources of communal identity and produce further change in the constitution and structural alignment of Irish Nationalist and Ulster Unionist identities. EU integration and structural initiatives have postmodernist contingencies that are beginning to redefine the structural space of Northern Ireland. The future development of these contingencies will be a fundamental factor in determining the extent to which Irish Nationalist and Ulster Unionist communal identities escape the embrace of modernity and develop with the postmodern world.

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