Public discourse in post-conflict Northern Ireland continues to characterize ethnic groups as static, antagonistic, and bounded by the past. Using an ethnographic study of working-class Protestant blood and thunder flute bands, I argue against this representation and demonstrate how young males actively reconstruct their ethnic narrative. These youth operationalize their ethnic identity through participation in bands to address everyday challenges of marginalization and to create a sense of meaningful belonging. Critically analyzing the structural and symbolic practices of bands and parades, this study illuminates ethnicity as a lived process, adapting according to community memory, present experiences, and hopes for the future.



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