Memory of the Rising and Futurology in the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum Debate

Andrea Binelli


According to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, the ideals of many of the rebels who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising to free the country from a foreign power have not yet been attained by today’s Republic: among these ideals Higgins listed wealth redistribution, eradication of inequalities and progressive positions on women’s rights. The idea that the task taken on by the 1916 Rising is yet to be accomplished is widespread in Ireland and has often turned into a rhetorical strategy in texts addressing very different topics within different discourses. This paper aims to investigate how the futurology inherent in today’s collective memory of 1916 was revisited by Yes and No campaigners in the mainstream debate prior to the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015. Accordingly, the tools of Corpus-Based Critical Discourse Studies are employed to analyse how the potential outcomes of the referendum were framed by both Yes and No sides as (contrasting) accomplishments of a nationalist and supposedly republican agenda.

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