'Plural Identities': Hybridity and the Case of Cornwall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 2002, Máiréad Nic Craith published what, for me, is perhaps her most important book: Plural Identities—Singular Narratives: The Case of Northern Ireland (Nic Craith 2002). Her purpose in this book was to explore the politics of
cultural traditions in Northern Ireland, looking beyond the widely accepted duality of ‘Catholic/Nationalist’ and ‘Protestant/Unionist’ to discover a multiple
complexity in which apparently oppositional identities might overlap or even
share cherished myths and narratives. Moreover, this complexity was dynamic,
open to continued negotiation, with shifting as well as blurred boundaries between ostensibly distinct traditions. Religious belief, cultural and linguistic symbolism, and other ethnic signifiers turned out to be less exclusive than conventional wisdom might suggest, so that ‘Celtic’, ‘Ulster-Scots’, ‘English’ and other supposedly distinct categories were best understood as political constructions designed to suit particular historical situations. Ironies, paradoxes and contradictions were commonplace. Thus, for example, Catholic/Nationalists and Protestant/ Unionists could each assert a ‘Celtic’ identity, albeit with varying
narratives, while both groups energetically laid (oppositional) claim to the Ulster
folkloric, Cú Chulainn.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPer Scribendum, Sumus
Subtitle of host publicationEthnopoesis, or Writing Heritage
EditorsUllrich Kockel, Philip McDermott, Liam Campbell
Place of PublicationZurich
PublisherLit Verlag GmbH & Co. KG Wien
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9783643963574
ISBN (Print)9783643913579
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cornwall identity
  • Cornish History


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