The changing structure of conflict in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement

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Title: The changing structure of conflict in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement
Authors: Todd, Jennifer
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Date: 2003
Abstract: This paper argues that until the early twenty-first century the Northern Ireland conflict retained an unstable triangular form (the legacy of the long-past colonial period), where the British state was inextricably imbricated in a communal conflict. By its very structures and modes of statecraft it reproduced the conflict which, by its policies, it attempted to ameliorate and manage. The Good Friday agreement changed all that. It did not resolve the conflict, although it began to create the conditions whereby this might be possible, allowing the British state to reposition itself, so that it could arbiter those aspects of the conflict which were internal and manage those which were ethno-national. In effect, the conflict moved from an unstable triangular to a stable symmetrical form of conflict management. Although the provisions of the agreement appeared to mark radical change, aspects of the older form of conflict management returned in its implementation, suggesting that the triangular structure of conflict is not yet gone. Rather than a move towards stable bi-nationalism, we may be seeing an uneven move towards an unstable multi variable form of conflict, where the communities compete for alliances and resources in a context of a multiplicity of power centres. In this respect globalisation and the changes in forms of territorial management in the archipelago may be less conducive to stability in Northern Ireland than was initially hoped.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Copyright (published version): The author, 2003
Keywords: Conflict managementNorthern IrelandGlobalisationIdentity
Subject LCSH: Conflict management--Northern Ireland
Great Britain. Treaties, etc. Ireland, 1998 Apr. 10
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Paper presented to the IBIS conference Renovation or Revolution? New territorial politics in Ireland and the United Kingdom, University College, Dublin, 3 April 2002.
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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