Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Bethany Hicks

Second Reader

Dr. Johnny Wink

Third Reader

Professor Donnie Copeland


Music and art can be very effective mediums for individual expression, both in personal life and for political thought. It is something that many people can relate to, can reach the heart more directly than mere words, and carries a wide range of unspoken meaning and significance without being reduced to clumsy language. Where words are useful to express ideas, music and art can often convey emotion more effectively and can be very effective in inspiring action or shaping thought. For this reason, these mediums have been and are often used to engage with or reject political discourse great effect. One particularly potent example of this sort of discussion may be seen in the music and art used to comment on the Irish Troubles. This allows the historian to understand more about the complexities of this conflict by feeling the unspoken assertions that are not immediately visible through words alone. It may also reveal something about how people thought about themselves, each other, and their histories and identities.

The period of Northern Ireland's social and political conflict, known as "the Troubles," has a very long and complicated history, involving animosities about class, ethnicity, religion, and politics going back for centuries. At its core, the Troubles were a conflict over political status and national identity between republicans wanting union with the Republic of Ireland and loyalists wanting to stay in the United Kingdom, with very old tensions and resentments sometimes spilling over into violence and both feeling justified for doing so. It is generally said to have begun with the Battle of the Bogside on August 12-14, 1969, and ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. But, even that designation is unclear and debatable. During this period, the violence between the opposing paramilitaries, police forces, and civilians attracted international attention.


Appendix contains:

Songs and Classifications

Selective Timeline

Belfast and Derry Religious Demographics

"The Men Behind the Wire - Nationalist versus Unionist Versions"

Belfast Murals

Thesis Appendix.pdf (2574 kB)



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