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Abandoning historical conflict? Former paramilitary prisoners and political reconciliation in Northern Ireland

Shirlow, Peter, Tonge, Jon, McAuley, James W. and McGlynn, Catherine (2010) Abandoning historical conflict? Former paramilitary prisoners and political reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK. ISBN 9780719080111

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Abstract

Drawing on over 150 interviews with former IRA, INLA, UVF and UFF prisoners, this is a major analysis of why Northern Ireland has seen a transition from war to peace. Most accounts of the peace process are ‘top-down’, relying upon the views of political elites. This book is ‘bottom-up’, analysing the voices of those who actually ‘fought the war’. What made them fight, why did they stop and what are the lessons for other conflict zones?

Using unrivalled access to members of the armed groups, the book offering a critical appraisal of one-dimensional accounts of the onset of peace, grounded in ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ and ‘ripeness’, which downgrade the political and economic aspects of conflict. Military stalemate had been evident since the early 1970s and offers little in explaining the timing of the peace process. Moreover, republicans and loyalists based their ceasefires upon very different perceptions of transformation or victory.

Based on a Leverhulme Trust project and written by an expert team, Abandoning Conflict offers a new analysis, based on subtle interplays of military, political, economic and personal changes and experiences. Combined, these allowed combatants to move from violence to peace whilst retaining core ideological beliefs and maintaining long-term constitutional visions.

Former prisoners now act as ambassadors for peace in Northern Ireland. Knowledge of why and how combatants switched to peaceful methodologies amid widespread skepticism over prospects for peace is essential to our understanding of the management of global peace processes. Abandoning Conflict is essential reading for policy-makers, academics, students and anyone with an interest in how war can become peace.

Item Type: Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: Northern Ireland politics conflict prisoners
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > The Academy for the Study of Britishness
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Depositing User: Sara Taylor
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 11:33
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2012 10:20
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/4676

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