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Signs of War and Peace Social Conflict and the Uses of Symbols in Public in Northern Ireland

by Jack Santino

Signs of War and Peace Social Conflict and the Uses of Symbols in Public in Northern Ireland Synopsis

Signs of War and Peace focuses on the role public display plays in the conflict in Northern Ireland. In doing so, it ranges freely over other times, places, and events that shed light on the social and political processes and dynamics involved in public display traditions, such as the Saint Patrick's Day parades in Boston, Massachusetts, and the popular spontaneous shrines to Lady Diana in London. The book is about the nature of public display, its relationships to class-based aesthetics, tradition, and popular style. It is also about contest, conflict, and civil war, and the ways the former are intimately intertwined with the latter, both in Northern Ireland and elsewhere throughout the world. The work is interdisciplinary, combining ethnographic, anthropological, folkloristic, and performance studies approaches. The manuscript benefits from large amount of field work in Ireland, and as a result contains both ethnographic data and revealing interviews with many people in Northern Ireland who have participated in the display events Santino seeks to analyze. The perspective that Santino offers helps to explain the intensity of the conflict as well as the origination, motivations, and justifications of bonfires, murals, commemorative displays, parades, etc. that symbolically articulate what he terms the 'dual master narratives' that underlie and in many ways help to articulate the parameters of that conflict.

Signs of War and Peace Social Conflict and the Uses of Symbols in Public in Northern Ireland Press Reviews

Santino shows great evenhandedness in treating the sides in the conflict, and his study is informative, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. -- Choice This extraordinary ethnographic work sheds a fresh light on the capacity of popular tradition to create public space, and collectively fashioned art-driven by passion and intellect-to articulate what is unsayable in politics. Santino's superbly written work illuminates the range of ways in which popular artistic traditions in Northern Ireland make visible what is too often hidden from the view of politics: the personal impacts of political decisions.--Mary Hufford, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress Santino provides a rarely available perspective on violence. He presents the perspectives of the people of Northern Ireland through their creative uses of traditional forms of expression. Responding to the threat and reality of death, present in their neighborhoods at all times, they respond with efforts to maintain their humanity and identities with shrines that memorialize specific individuals yet also serve to draw attention to the consequences of the conflict. Understanding the tragic consequences of violence for other human beings offers an alternative to the frustrations of diplomacy. Perhaps such an approach could prove to be a more fruitful route to peaceful solutions.--Beverly Stoeltje, Indiana University Signs of War and Peace offers a fascinating excursion into the politics of popular art in an embattled land, where two incompatible versions of history coexist. In refreshingly readable prose, Jack Santino shows how public displays like drum-beating, litter-can rattling, handshaking, flag flying, and curbstone and mural painting operate symbolically to perpetuate a state of war. By so doing, he teaches us not only about the anguished inhabitants of Northern Ireland but also about ourselves.--Stanley Brandes, University of California at Berkeley Signs of War and Peace is an impressive look at the range of display events associated with the war in Northern Ireland. As far as I know, there has been no other work on this particular side to the conflicts in Northern Ireland. Santino is an established scholar who has devoted a great deal of his time in the last several years to fieldwork in Ireland, and the manuscript that he has produced as a result is filled with important ethnographic data and revealing interviews dn0 with many people in Northern Ireland who have participated in the display events he seeks to analyze. I truly enjoyed reading this manuscript.--Meg Brady, University of Utah

Book Information

ISBN: 9781403967459
Publication date: 11th February 2002
Author: Jack Santino
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan an imprint of Palgrave USA
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 145 pages
Categories: Sociology, Religious groups: social & cultural aspects, Cultural studies, Politics & government, Social theory, Semiotics / semiology,

About Jack Santino

JACK SANTINO is Professor of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University. He is the author of five books and is the creator of two documentary films, one of which, Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle, won four Emmy awards. Santino is also the editor of the Journal of American Folklore.

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