Encyclopedia of Irish history and culture Vol 2 (P-Z) by James S Donnelly; et al

By James S Donnelly; et al

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The British government eventually acknowledged that it had to negotiate with Sinn Féin, and between October and December 1921 Lloyd George and his team engaged in hard bargaining with Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and other Sinn Féin representatives. But by now the debate on the union had moved to a wider plane, for statesmen from the British empire, such as General Smuts of South Africa, urged the British to follow the instinct and the constitutional practice that had led to the dominions of the empire becoming equal partners with the mother country.

Other types of politically charged ritual existed alongside the “patriotic” performance of the Volunteers. The Whiteboys and other agrarian combinations practiced “communitarian” rituals whose purposes were to enforce communal solidarity upon fellow peasants in a given locality and to remind the elite of their duties of reciprocity toward their dependents. So long as the moral economy was intact, communitarian ritual tacitly supported the patron-client political culture. Two other species of ritual, however, challenged that culture.

They shared with Freemasonry a suspicion of the existing political order, but while the former looked to the past for an alternative, the latter looked forward. Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture POLITICS: 1690 TO 1800—A PROTESTANT KINGDOM Thus by the late 1780s the theatrical character of the Irish state was abundantly manifest. It was members of the polity who, by sponsoring patriotic ritual on a grand scale, had initiated an era of performance politics on the national level. Those excluded from the polity, however, had rich repertoires of ritual to contribute to the spectacle that was the theater state.

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