Political murals have a long history in Northern Ireland. During the Troubles, political murals were used by republicans in working-class areas to construct narratives that would legitimise their ideological assertions and help galvanise popular support for their political causes. In recent years, Belfast's republican political murals have not only become the forefront of a flourishing political tourism sector, but they also provide a risk-free means of drawing attention to dissident republican grievances – both of which challenge traditional and contemporaneous conceptualisations of Northern Ireland's political murals. This study critically examines the communicative function of Belfast's republican political murals in relation to location and audience. It also articulates a conceptual approach to interpreting the function of Northern Ireland's republican political murals. We present calibrated findings that indicate a disparity of function in relation to location and audience and point toward the capacity of murals to fulfil specific communicative functions.
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- political murals
- republican murals
- northern Ireland murals
- visual analysis
- political tourism