Cultural Identity and Gender in Northern Ireland : A Space for Soaps ?

  • Mary Connolly


As a fan of EastEnders the purpose of the author's dissertation was to examine current thinking on Gender and Cultural Identity in Northern Ireland through a literature review and some small scal/e research into the viewing of the soap opera.
The author explored the issues with a group of eighteen Protestant and Catholic women. There were few significant differences in usage across age, class and cultural background. All of the women were capable of resistive readings as well as deep involvement and there was a spread of opinion about some of the more controversial issues dealt with. Attitudes to identity were more complex than often seems apparent in a simplistic reference to 'Two Communities'.
The clearest division carne on the issue of the feasibility of a local soap opera.  Middle class women rejected this idea whilst the working class women welcomed it as an opportunity to explore contentious issues through afamiliar medium which has a particular relevance to women.

How to Cite:

Connolly, M., (1997) “Cultural Identity and Gender in Northern Ireland : A Space for Soaps ?”, Res Publica 39(2), p.293-302. doi:

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Published on
29 Jun 1997
Peer Reviewed