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Abandoning Historical Conflict?Former Political Prisoners and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland$
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Peter Shirlow, Jon Tonge, and James McAuley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719080111

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719080111.001.0001

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Conflict transformation and changing perceptions of the ‘other’

Conflict transformation and changing perceptions of the ‘other’

(p.119) 6 Conflict transformation and changing perceptions of the ‘other’
Abandoning Historical Conflict?

Peter Shirlow

Jonathan Tonge

James McAuley

Catherine McGlynn

Manchester University Press

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

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