Parading Protest: Orange Parades In Northern Ireland And Temperance Parades In Antebellum America

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Social Movement Studies: Journal Of Social, Cultural And Political Protest


We present a comparison of two cases of ‘parading protest’ that share roots in a long Anglo-European tradition but unfolded in very different political and social contexts. Both Orangemen in Northern Ireland and Washingtonian temperance activists in the United States made strategic and contentious use of the power of socially-approved meanings attached to parading. These different cases of parading turned to protest as elements of the ceremonial parade were appropriated by working-class groups to challenge authorities and rally others to the cause. We argue that the centrality of symbols and ritual in social movement, their polysemous character, the authority associated with them, and the social psychological processes through which they operate help explain how parades may be appropriated for both orthodox and insurgent purposes.

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