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‘Miserable conflict and confusion’: Definitions and Understanding of the Irish Question in British Newspapers, 1917-21

Scheopner, Erin Kate. 2018. ‘Miserable conflict and confusion’: Definitions and Understanding of the Irish Question in British Newspapers, 1917-21. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis analyses British newspaper coverage of the ‘Irish question’ – Ireland’s constitutional relationship with Britain – from the aftermath of the Easter Rising to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, 1917-21. It examines how eleven British newspapers reported and editorialised the situation and how such writing illuminates press understanding of the Irish question. The central question addressed is how did British press definitions and understanding of the Irish question develop throughout 1917-21? This is in order to address a gap in the historiography: how the Irish question was defined within the British press leading to the ‘solution’ of the Treaty.

This thesis argues that the press concentrated on the constitutional aspect of the Irish question but did not reconcile the fact that the Irish question had fundamentally changed from its pre-war iteration following the postponement of Home Rule. In addition, common tropes of violence, conflict, and emotion that had been historically utilised to explain issues relating to Ireland were retained and the emotiveness of questions of nationhood were not adequately regarded and managed. These debates also occurred within the context of the global war and post-war period in which the importance of civilian morale was recognised. As a result, the press debates on what the Irish question was and who was responsible for its resolution oscillated and were particularly influenced by the general public distaste of violence and the prospect of an end to conflict through British constitutional politics.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00025973

Keywords:

Anglo-Irish relations; British press; Anglo-Irish Treaty

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

History

Date:

30 November 2018

Item ID:

25973

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2019 12:58

Last Modified:

19 Feb 2020 17:57

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/25973

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