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Crowds and political violence in early modern Ireland: Galway and the 1641 depositions

Walter, John (2021) 'Crowds and political violence in early modern Ireland: Galway and the 1641 depositions.' Irish Historical Studies, 45 (168). pp. 178-202. ISSN 0021-1214

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This article offers a critical analysis of the representation of early modern popular violence provided by the 1641 depositions. Exploring the problems of how reported ‘speech’ was produced and recorded in the 1641 depositions, the article challenges the tendency within the depositions to represent violence as a spontaneous and immediate act, explicable by a racialised reading of Irish ‘barbarity’ and Catholic treachery. Exploiting a large cache of depositions and examinations in the relatively resource-rich urban context of Galway, it offers a micro-historical narrative of two brutal episodes of popular violence there in 1642 to reveal the complex histories and politics that might lie behind acts of violence in the Irish rising. Examining the local impact of the state's policies of anglicisation and Protestantisation, the paper recovers the prolonged, but ultimately unsuccessful, negotiations that preceded popular violence. Contextualizing the episodes, the article locates that violence in the more complex (and divided) politics of the city and in the radical challenges it brought to traditional structures of rule in Galway. Referencing the developing body of work on the politics of early modern crowd actions in Ireland, the article argues that the popular violence was political, both a consequence of and contributor to political change there.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 16:33
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 14:23

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