“For God and for the Crown”: Contemporary Political and Social Attitudes among Orange Order Members in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

The Protestant Orange Order is the largest organization in civil society in Northern Ireland. From 1905 until 2005, the Order was linked to the Ulster Unionist Party, until recently the dominant local political force. However, widespread Unionist disenchantment with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement led to a shift in the votes of Orange Order members, in common with other Protestants, to the anti-Agreement Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which traditionally has had no links to the Order. This article examines the political, religious, and cultural attitudes of Orange Order members that prompted such a switch. It suggests that a combination of cultural and political insecurities over the fate of Protestant-British-Unionism has led to a realignment of Orangeism towards the stronger brand of Protestant and Unionist politics offered by the DUP.

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