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Accepted Paper:

Nationalism, the EU, and the Irish State: From the 2008 Recession to the Rising Popularity of Sinn Féin  
Natalie Morningstar (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how perceptions of state-level mismanagement of the 2008 recession simultaneously fueled a wave of mistrust in national politicians and investors, even as it solidified trust in European integration, and draws a link between this period and the recent popularity of Sinn Féin.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the coexistence of pro-EU and anti-establishment sentiment among young activists in Dublin, Ireland after the 2008 recession and attempts to begin to draw connections between the events of this period and the more recent rise of the pro-unification party, Sinn Féin. Drawing on twelve months of fieldwork with activists critical of the state's response to the recession, it endeavours to explain how the same financial crisis could capitulate a rise in anti-establishment politics and an increased faith in both abstract European identity and a practical political dependence on the European Union. Preliminary work on the electoral success of Sinn Féin in the 2020 General Election is then examined to explore how far nationalist party politics can be understood as consistent with European integration in the Republic of Ireland. It unpacks the assumption that the cosmopolitan, pro-EU activist is a political subjectivity incompatible with nationalist sympathies. Engaging critically with the literature on cosmopolitanism and nationalism, it then considers the novelty of the Irish case. An instance of left-wing, welfarist, nationalism, electoral support for Sinn Féin offers us a different vision of European nationalism than that encountered most frequently in the anthropological literature, where nationalism is frequently cast as definitionally right-wing and anti-cosmopolitan. Ultimately, this paper argues that it was precisely the peculiar blend of anti-establishment politics and pro-EU sentiment that simmered in the wake of the 2008 recession that made Sinn Féin's party politics appealing to a young, disenchanted, left-wing electoral base.

Panel Irre12b
Scaling irresponsibility: perceptions of the failure of European liberal democratic politics
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -