Divided Nations

Satisfactory Essays
Divided Nations


In this essay, I will discuss both the cultural factors in divided nations encountered in the book “The Violence Within: Cultural and Political Opposition in Divided Nations”, edited by Kay B. Warren, and the methods by which the contributors to this volume have collected their data. The broad array of conflict and opposition encountered in the book are inclusive to countries such as Northern Ireland, Israel, Egypt, Iran, South Africa, The Philippines, Guatemala, and Brazil. A variety of authors have lent their interpretations and experiences in and of these cultures. The methods of data collection are wide ranging, including participant observation, representative, and the accounts of professionals in the same or similar fields. First, I will describe the cultural factors contributing to unrest in each of these nations, and then the methods by which the authors have collected their research material.

Cultural Factors in Northern Ireland

There is a long history of opposition to British colonialism in Northern Ireland and historically, colonialism creates a special case which carries characteristic cultural effects in the opposition. Colonialism, as Begona Aretxaga (223) points out, “not only exploits and despoils, it also creates meanings and shapes feelings.”. He further suggests that it is this creation of meanings and shaping of feeling that sets colonialism apart from other forms of political opposition. It is this effect which has laid the cultural framework for the political defiances of the Irish.

The major cultural vessel used to express dissent has historically been seen in the form of hunger strikes by political prisoners. This practice has a far-reaching cultural basis which can be found in Gaelic tradition. The hunger strike has also gained significant meaning from the Catholic religion, drawing from the symbolism therein. Whereas this type of non-violent protest has often been associated with the precedent set by Ghandi, here it has a rich historical background and was used to rally and unify the Irish people.

From the British perspective, what made colonialism acceptable to the masses was a cultural infusion, painting a picture of the Irish as savages. Their religion was deemed pagan. This religious dissimilarity has permeated through the years, and been the main source of difference as seen between these two entities. Next, I will document the cultural components contributing to the conflict in Israel.

Cultural Factors in Israel

The rather significant cultural
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