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Social movements, structural violence and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland: The role of Loyalist paramilitaries

Ferguson, Neil, McDaid, Shaun and McAuley, James W. (2017) Social movements, structural violence and conflict transformation in Northern Ireland: The role of Loyalist paramilitaries. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. ISSN 1078-1919 (In Press)

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Abstract

This article analyses how social movements and collective actors can affect political and social transformation in a structurally violent society using the case study of Northern Ireland. We focus, in particular, on the crucial role played by collective actors within the loyalist community (those who wish to maintain Northern Ireland’s place in the UK), in bringing about social and political transformation in a society blighted by direct, cultural, and structural violence both during the conflict and subsequent peace process. Drawing on data obtained through in-depth interviews with loyalist activists (including former paramilitaries), the article demonstrates the role and impact of loyalists and loyalism in Northern Ireland’s transition. We identify five conflict transformation challenges addressed by loyalist actors in a structurally violent society: de-mythologizing the conflict; stopping direct violence; resisting pressure to maintain the use of violence; development of robust activist identity; and the measurement of progress through reference to the parallel conflict transformation journey of their former republican enemies. The Northern Ireland case demonstrates the necessity for holistic conflict transformation strategies which attempt not only to stop direct attacks, but also the cultural and structural violence which underpin and legitimize them. In so doing, the article contributes to a broader understanding of how and why paramilitary campaigns are brought to an end.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017, American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors permission. The final article will be available, upon publication, via its DOI: 10.1037/pac0000274
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Academy for British and Irish Studies
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Shaun Mcdaid
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 13:58
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 13:51
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/32190

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