Chapter

Introduction

Lee A. Smithey

in Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195395877
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914470 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395877.003.0001

Series: Studies in Strategic Peacebuilding

Introduction

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This chapter introduces the social psychology of ethnic and political division in Northern Ireland, documents continuing segregation and division since the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and calls for culturally oriented conflict transformation. Many of the circumstances on which unionists and loyalists based their political assumptions and the institutions on which they relied have changed significantly. Feelings of disorientation and alienation persist. With the end of Direct Rule, political persuasion, lobbying, public relations, and grassroots organizing have become increasingly important, and it is critical that unionists, and particularly working-class loyalists, feel empowered and have the organizing capacity to influence democratic politics without violence.

Keywords: collective identity; conflict transformation; empowerment; ethnic identity; Northern Ireland; social psychology

Chapter.  9336 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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