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Transforming the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: From Terrorism to Democratic Policies


Aaron Edwards and Stephen Bloomer (Eds.)

Focusing on the decade since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, this book deals with the ways in which political and parliamentary actors attempt to adjust to the rigors of democratic participation.

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ISBN: 9780716529552 Categories: , ,


This book focuses on the decade since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998, as political and paramilitary actors attempt to adjust to the rigors of democratic participation. It delineates the key stumbling blocks in the current peace and political processes and examines in detail just how the conversion from terrorism to democratic politics is being managed in post-conflict Northern Ireland. It fills a gap in the literature by juxtaposing €˜top-level€™ political party and inter-governmental politics alongside €˜middle-range civil society interventions and €˜grass-roots€™ community level politics. Moreover, it provides an empirically informed examination of the central political ideologies, parties, and identities at play, as well as the methodologies by which paramilitary groupings are attempting to deal with the legacies of the past conflict. The book draws its contributors from across the disciplinary boundaries of  political science, history, anthropology, sociology, and political sociology and is situated within a broad analytical and theoretical framework.

Table of Contents

Foreward by Richard English

Preface and Acknowledgements

List of Contributors

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Transforming the Peace Process: From Terrorism to Democratic Politics? Aaron Edwards and Stephen Bloomer

Part I: Political Identities and Ideologies After the Belfast Agreement

  1. Constructing Contemporary Loyalism – James W. McAuley
  2. Loyalists and Unionists: Explaining the Internal Dynamics of an Ethnic Group – Christopher Farrington
  3. The Evolution of Irish Republicanism and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland – Catherine O’Donnell
  4. Nationalist Convergence? The Evolution of Sinn Fein and SDLP Politics – Jonathon Tonge

Part II: Paramilitaries and Politicians

  1. ‘Exit, Voice and Loyalty’: Signalling of Loyalist Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland – Lyndsey Harris
  2. Bridging the Militarist-Politico Divide: The Progressive Unionist Party and the Politics of Conflict Transformation – Stephen Bloomer
  3. Of Myths and Men: Dissent within Republicanism and Loyalism – Anthony McIntyre

Part III: NGO’s, State Strategies and Conflict Transformation

  1. Ordering Transition: The Role of Loyalists and Republicans in Community-based Policing Activity – Nail Jarman
  2. For God and … Conflict Transformation? The Church’s Dis/engagement with Contemporary Loyalism – Claire Mitchell
  3. ‘The Economic and Social War Against Violence’: British Social and Economic Strategy and the Evolution of Provisionalism
  4. ‘A Tragedy Beyond Words’: Interpretations of British Government Policy and the Northern Ireland Peace Process – Paul Dixon

Part IV: Post-Conflict Northern Ireland and The International Dimension

  1. Talking to Terrorists: Political Violence and Peace Processes in the Contemporary World – Aaron Edwards
  2. Internationalising the Arms Issue: The Politics of Decommissioning in Northern Ireland and Lebanon –  Michael Kerr
  3. The Impact of the Third-Party Intervention on Peace Processes: Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka – Eamonn O’Kane


About the Author(s):

Aaron Edwards is the Co-ordinator of the ‘Journeys Out: From Conflict to Participation’ project at INCORE, a University of Ulster/United Nations University for excellence in conflict and peace studies.

Stephen Bloomer is Project Co-ordinator of The Other View , an inter-community, cross-border quarterly periodical.