Sectarian conflict and inability to construct a national identity in Northern Ireland in Christina Reid’s “tea in a China cup,” “did you hear the one about the Irishman … ?,” “joyriders,” “the belle of the Belfast city,” and “my name, shall i tell you my name?”

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2008

Thesis Language: English

Student: Bedrettin Yazan



Based on Christina Reid’s five Plays “Tea in a China Cup,” “Did You Hear the One About the Irishman … ?,” “Joyriders,” “The Belle of the Belfast City,” and “My Name, Shall I Tell You My Name?” the aim of this study is to put under discussion the idea that the sectarian conflict between the two ethno-religious communities in Northern Ireland is maintained deliberately and a national identity unique to the people in this country cannot be constructed at least in the near future. The Protestants in Northern Ireland cannot choose Irishness as a national identity because the Irishness has been monopolized by the Catholics, and cannot adopt the Britishness as a national identity because of the varieties in the social factors they have. Likewise, the Catholics in Northern Ireland do not call themselves British because their Catholicism involves an Irish identity with the rejection of the British rule, and they cannot truly entitle themselves Irish due to the differences in social conditions. However, both factions try to adhere themselves to a national identity through their communal ideology. The Protestants claim that they are part of Britain, while the Catholics claim that they are members of Irish Nation. This situation has led to reluctance in both communities to stop the conflictual circumstances which encourage both groups to tether to their traditions more intensely, to contribute to the otherization process reinforcing their social identity and lead them to impose their working ideology on their new members whose divergence from traditions will definitely pose a threat to their identity. Also, in this country the forgetting / remembering process, which is actually exploited to forge a national identity, is orchestrated by the two communities to enlarge the intercommunal chasm through the narration of the old stories and memories, creation of stories, commemoration activities and museumizing certain objects. Throughout the study the key points which will be highlighted are as follows: nation, national identity and nation building process, the sectarian conflict between the two communities in Northern Ireland, maintenance of conflictual situation and the employment of the forgetting / remembering process in Northern Ireland.