Chapter

Imprisonment, ideological development and change

Peter Shirlow, Jonathan Tonge, James McAuley and Catherine McGlynn

in Abandoning Historical Conflict?

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780719080111
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703038 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719080111.003.0005
Imprisonment, ideological development and change

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This chapter reviews the literature on the struggle for legitimacy conducted by republican and loyalist former prisoners in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s. Although similar tactics were used by both sides in refusing to comply with prison authorities, the larger and more enduring campaigns conducted by republican prisoners were to reshape the conflict. The determination to be recognised as prisoners-of-war was replicated by republicans by their desire to prove that they enjoyed a sizeable electoral mandate. Due to their willingness to endure deprivation and hunger and view prison as another site of struggle, republican prisoners helped shape the direction of their movement, although the precise extent of influence remains disputed. Loyalist prisoners were disoriented by the experience of imprisonment by the state they purported to defend and loyalism struggled, within and beyond prison, to develop a political role. One important element of the prison experience for non-state combatants was access to education.

Keywords: Northern Ireland; legitimacy; conflict; former prisoners; republicans; imprisonment; loyalism; prison; education; non-state combatants

Chapter.  10751 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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