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Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Lee A. Smithey

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195395877
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914470 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395877.001.0001

Series: Studies in Strategic Peacebuilding

Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Protestant unionist and loyalist organizations and communities in Northern Ireland have used public ritual and cultural expressions, such as parades, bonfires, murals, and commemorations, to build and sustain collective identity over the course of the region’s long-standing conflict. Ethnic and political division remains prominent since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and this book examines the evolution of identity work among unionists and loyalists as they adapt to new political circumstances. Working within a model of conflict transformation that seeks to include as many quarters as possible, the book asks how recursive relationships between collective identity and collective action, such as traditional cultural expressions, provide opportunities for experimentation and the incremental reconstruction and softening of identities that have long contributed to the intractability of conflict in the region. Drawing on participant observation, fieldwork, documentary evidence, and interviews with community workers and leaders, the book argues that ethnic identity change that contributes to conflict transformation and a sustainable peace is most likely when it originates from within even the most ideologically committed unionist and loyalist organizations and communities. The book draws on both qualitative and quantitative methods to document initiatives that mitigate contentious symbols and rituals and reveal a growing openness to civic and cross-community engagement.

Keywords: conflict transformation; culture; ethnic; identity; intractable conflict; loyalism; Northern Ireland; peace processes; peacebuilding; Protestant; unionism

Book.  276 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Ethnic Identity Change and Conflict Transformation in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Protestant Unionists and Loyalists in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Mitigating Murals and Loyalist Cultural Innovation in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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The Orange Order: Mitigating Parades, Public Relations, and Identity Change in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Heritage, Memory, and Identity Work in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Strategy, Pragmatism, and Public Relations in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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Conclusion in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

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