Now showing 1 - 10 of 54
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    One state or two? Anticipating opportunities for and obstacles to identity shift
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009)
  • Publication
    Institutional change and conflict regulation : the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985) and the mechanisms of change in Northern Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009)
    The mechanisms of institutional change identified in comparative studies of industrial policy and welfare state development are also to be found in processes of intergovernmental ethnic conflict regulation. This article shows how the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement set in place a very thin layer of intergovernmental institutions which started an institutional momentum, opening new political opportunities, changing political expectations, and thus paving the way for the much more radical political and institutional changes that were to follow. It uses new data to show how the elites who initiated the process conceived of it and to identify the mechanisms producing change.
  • Publication
  • Publication
    The changing structure of conflict in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2003)
    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.
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    The Vulnerability of the Northern Ireland Settlement: British Irish Relations, Political Crisis and Brexit
    (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015)
    The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 is the cornerstone of stability in Northern Ireland. It is, however, vulnerable to changes in British-Irish relations and priorities. This article argues that this is at the root of recent crises and political stalemate in Northern Ireland. It argues that future shocks - not least the threat of British exit from the EU - are likely to increase instability in Northern Ireland and in North-South relations.
  • Publication
    Trajectories of identity change : new perspectives on ethnicity, nationality and identity in the Cultural Social Sciences and Research in Ireland
    (Field Day, 2007-09)
    The cultural social sciences work at the point of intersection of social structure, institutional change and change in mass public perceptions and collective identities. They look for the links between power relations, collective action and social and symbolic boundaries. Marx theorized this for class relations. The most exciting area of the cultural social sciences today, however, is ethnicity, where some of the insights developed in class analysis are used to look at the constitution of ethnic categories and collectivities and the ways the categories of ethnicity and nationality are embodied, manipulated, strategically adapted, and transmitted.
  • Publication
    Protestant minorities in European states and nations
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009) ;
    Europe’s traditional ethnic minorities and the conflicts over their place in the state and nation are the focus of continuing comparative research. In contrast, little attention is paid to Europe’s older religious conflicts, in particular those that stem from the reformation. Yet for long religiously informed conflict was the principal source of internal state division and the major perceived threat to state stability and security. This paper looks at the institutional changes and cultural renegotiations which allowed traditional religious oppositions, rivalries and conflicts to fade in most contemporary European societies. It concludes that neither modernisation, democratisation nor secularisation were enough to resolve deep-set tensions. The long-term resolutions involved a restructuring of polity and nation in a way consistent with minority, as well as majority culture. In the past – as perhaps also in the present - such opportunities were rare and demanded choice, strategy and political fortune.
  • Publication
    Thresholds of State Change : Changing British State Institutions and Practices in Northern Ireland after Direct Rule
    (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014-10)
    A long process of state-institutional change underlay the eventual swift restructuration of Northern Ireland in the 2000s.This article shows that it took a threshold form. The argument abstracts from the drama of politics within Northern Ireland in order to highlight the intrastate processes that incentivised radical change in parties and paramilitaries there and to contribute to comparative analysis of state change in conflict situations. The concept of a threshold is used in the social sciences to refer to a step or phase in a process of change, one that is difficult to pass but which, once passed, produces swift observable outcomes (Lustick, 1993, 43-46; Pierson, 2004, 83-86). Thresholds are likely to characterise state-change in conflict situations because the intensity of opposing interpretations, the embeddedness of state responses, the urgency of security imperatives and the determination of veto players tend to block incremental forms of change. Ian Lustick (1993, 2001) has argued that in cases of ‘state contraction’ a long slow process of overcoming internal ‘ideological’ and ‘regime’ (military) thresholds precedes a swift process of boundary-change. However there has been little elaboration of these ideas for other conflict situations. This article shows a process of state threshold-crossing which affected sequentially British orientations, prioritisations and policies in Northern Ireland. It uses new evidence in the form of over 70 elite interviews with senior British and Irish politicians and officials who made, influenced and closely observed the process.
      512Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Partitioned identities? Everyday national distinctions in Northern Ireland and the Irish state
    (Wiley, 2015-01)
    How does political structure affect ethno-national distinction? Partitioned societies are a good test case where we can see the effects of changed socio-political circumstances on historically inherited distinction. This article takes nominally identical distinctions of nationality and religion with common historical roots and shows how they are differentially understood in two polities partitioned in 1920: Northern Ireland, a devolved region of the United Kingdom, and the Irish state. Using a data base of interviews with over 220 respondents, of which 75 in Northern Ireland, conducted between 2003 and 2006, it shows how complex, potentially totalising and exclusive ‘ethnic’ and ‘ethno-national’ divisions are built up from simpler and more permeable distinctions. Respondents interrelate the same elements into a loosely-knit symbolic structure – different in each jurisdiction – which frames expectations and discourse, and which is associated with different logics of national discourse, one focussing on personal orientation, the other on group belonging. The resultant ‘ethno-national’ distinctions function differently North and South.
      426Scopus© Citations 16