This week our group is considering the work of Anthony Smith. Smith argues that ‘ethnies’ play an important role in the making of modern nationalist movements. He claims that shared memories, myths and symbols are fundamental to identity and provide the emotional sub-text to many nationalist organisations.
In this week’s Scotland on Sunday, we found this article:
For the first time in generations, the exclusively Protestant Orange Order in Scotland has politicised and is mobilising against the Scottish National Party (SNP) in order to defend the union of the United Kingdom. The order has previously played a significant role in the conflict in Northern Ireland.
We thought this article links clearly to Smith’s theories. The Orange Order is an organisation that expresses its identity through strong ethno-symbolism and ritual and, in so doing, has flourished for hundreds of years. The Order march through the streets of Glasgow each year in an annual celebration of the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This year it is estimated there were 60,000 marchers.
We found it interesting that in Scotland we see two competing nationalisms; the civic Scottish nationalism of the SNP in contrast to the ethnic British nationalism of the Orange Order.
Please watch this short video which will demonstrate the power of their imagery.
The effectiveness of the Orange Order symbols is clearly demonstrated by this pair of signs from either side of the sectarian divide.
For a brief history of the Orange Order follow this link: