Contemporary Unionism and the tactics of resistance

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Title: Contemporary Unionism and the tactics of resistance
Authors: Dixon, Paul
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Date: 2002
Abstract: This paper emphasises the importance of the political context for shaping unionist tactics for defending the Union and resisting Irish unity. Some draw a sharp dichotomy between “constitutional” and “unconstitutional” unionism. The Ulster Unionist Party, and perhaps the Democratic Unionist Party, are seen as “constitutional”, while the loyalist parties associated with paramilitary organisations, the Ulster Democratic Party and the Progressive Unionist Party, are seen as “unconstitutional”. Some unionists readily advocate violence while others completely reject any use of violence. The principal unionist parties (UUP, DUP), it is argued, have operated in the “grey area” between violent and non-violent politics, veering towards one pole or the other depending on the wider political context. In particular, it will be suggested that unionists tend towards “more direct” methods of political action when they fear—often with good reason—that their position within the Union is becoming undermined. When these fears are heightened the room for unionist political elites to contemplate accommodation with nationalists is constrained.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Series/Report no.: IBIS Working Papers; 19
Copyright (published version): The author, 2002
Keywords: UnionismPolitical tacticsLoyalismPolitical parties
Subject LCSH: Unionism (Irish politics)
Northern Ireland--Politics and government--1994-
Northern Ireland--Politics and government--1969-1994
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Revised version of a paper presented to the IBIS conference, From political violence to negotiated settlement : the winding path to peace in twentieth century Ireland, University College Dublin, 23 March 2001.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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