The Irish revolutionary period as a rite of passage: things hidden since the foundation of the state

Thumbnail Image
McGrath, Patricia
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
This thesis is an exercise in the application of a number of key concepts from Szakolczai's reflexive historical sociology and political anthropology to an interpretation of Irish history during the revolutionary period from 1916 to 1927, and more particularly to an appraisal of the central figure of Eamon deValera. The hypothesis suggests that a characteristic pattern of action, an ideal-type character of leadership and distinctive political style emerges under the conditions of liminality of the revolutionary period, and becomes institutionalised in Irish political culture. This pattern of action, character type, and style corresponds to the anthropological figure of Trickster. This is represented vividly in the exemplary figure of deValera, a style which, institutionalised, recurs problematically in the subsequent Fianna Fáil leaderships of Charles J. Haughey and Bertie Ahern during the recent liminal period of the so-called 'Celtic Tiger'. The key theoretical concepts are: 'liminality', elaborated from the form of a 'rite of passage'; the crucial role of 'masters of ceremonies' (van Gennep (1960), Turner (1967), Szakolczai (2000), Horvath (2008), Thomassen (2008)); 'schismogenesis' (Bateson, 1979); 'mimesis', violence, sacrifice and the scapegoat mechanism (Girard, 2003); the 'hero'; (Giesen, 2004); charismatic leadership (Weber, 2012) and 'Trickster' (Jung (1991), Radin (1972), Hyde (2008), and Szakolczai (2000)).
Liminality , Charisma , Trickster , Schismogenesis , Mimesis , Sacrifice , Permanent liminality , Routinisation of Trickster consciousness , Rites of passage
McGrath, P. 2018. The Irish revolutionary period as a rite of passage: things hidden since the foundation of the state. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version