Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 287 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

John G Gunnell

Committee Members

Peter Breiner, Morton Schoolman, Charles D Tarlton


Conflict Studies, Ideology, Irish Politics, Irish Republicanism, Political Thought, Theory of Action, Republicanism, Pragmatism

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Political Science | Social and Cultural Anthropology


The thesis of this dissertation is that ideology is an ontologically autonomous social object that social science can reconstruct accurately only if it treats ideology as ontologically autonomous. To demonstrate this thesis, the text has three mutually supporting aims. First, it seeks to further our understanding of ideology as a form of political thought, and to develop an appropriate theory of ideology. Second, it critiques the academic literature on Irish Republicanism and, when necessary, the academic literature on Northern Irish political thought. Third, it is a conceptual morphology of Irish Republicanism. Through an examination of Irish Republicanism, the dissertation shows how ideology operates and what it is as a practice, what Irish Republicanism's core, adjacent, and peripheral concepts are and how they interact, and the failures of social science to accurately reconstruct and represent both Irish Republicanism and ideology. By focusing on political artifacts, such as speeches, manifestos, and party policies, the analysis extracts and reconstructs Irish Republicanism's political concepts. This reconstruction indicates that Irish Republicanism's core is ambiguous, and that the meaning of the group is not clear. This, however, does not inhibit the ideology's cohesiveness. Irish Republicanism's conceptual ambiguity allows it to advance multiple conceptual structures, which increases its public appeal. This analysis of Irish Republicanism also indicates that ideologists contest the meaning of the ideology. Therefore, the word, `Irish Republicanism', refers to at least two distinct ideologies. The text demonstrates this finding through a morphological comparison of several Northern Irish ideologies.