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The Shock of Civil War in Finland and Ireland: the case for cultural sociology

Conflict
Conflict Resolution
National Identity
Nationalism
Political Violence
Bill Kissane
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Bill Kissane
The London School of Economics & Political Science

Abstract

Happening almost as soon as the countries gained independence both the Finnish (1918) and Irish civil wars (1922) were experienced as a profound shock. While both countries recovered, the Finnish conflict left a much greater legacy which had to be come to terms with over time. The Irish conflict I argue was assimilated into an already existing pattern of state and nation-building. I do not use the terms memory or forgetting but use the tools of cultural sociology to explore why in the Finnish case, the business of coming to terms with the past took place over two generations, while in Ireland the conflict remains submerged in popular memory between the War of Independence (1919-21) and the Northern Irish Troubles (1969-1998).