Chapter

Conflict transformation and changing perceptions of the ‘other’

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/9780719080111.003.0007
Conflict transformation and changing perceptions of the ‘other’

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This chapter explores post-conflict attitudes and behaviour of those former non-state combatants in Northern Ireland who have engaged in broader formations of social and political reconciliation and transformation through various post-prison and community initiatives. It examines how the influx of former prisoners into organisations such as Sinn Féin, the Progressive Unionist Party, and the Ulster Political Research Group has reshaped the political thinking of those groups, and whether former prisoners have been able to maintain a distinct standpoint within such organisations or have been marginalised by leadership-driven change. The chapter also considers contemporary reconstructions of ‘the other’ and whether, and to what extent, these have changed in the post-conflict era. Despite visible efforts to build inter-community linkages, it is also important to consider the ideological and discursive divisions that remain between loyalists and republicans. Central to the processes of conflict transformation are the effects of social cohesion on the broader civil society.

Keywords: non-state combatants; Northern Ireland; reconciliation; transformation; former prisoners; loyalists; republicans; conflict transformation; social cohesion; civil society

Chapter.  10590 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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