A social identity analysis of dissident Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland

de Heus, Annabelle L. (2019) A social identity analysis of dissident Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Although Northern Ireland has become a more peaceful place since the Good Friday Agreement, spoiler groups in the form of dissident republicans remain persistent in their opposition. This thesis analyses the role of social identity as a vehicle for understanding dissident Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland. Social Identity is a theory for understanding social psychological phenomena relating to group structures and intergroup relations. By focussing on dissident republicanism, and its relation to the Republican mainstream as characterised by Sinn Féin, this thesis finds that the political and personal identity of dissident groups and their members is best understood as a reaction to the out-group. This study argues that the relative strength of the mainstream out-group in the wider republican communities has a positive impact in terms of supressing dissident republican violence, but arguably also a negative impact in terms of countering legitimate political opposition.

This thesis proposes that the role of group structures and in/out-group divides are a prominent feature in understanding the occurrence and persistence of dissident republicanism. In doing so, it contributes to the existing literature, which tends to treat dissident and mainstream republicanism in an isolated manner, by unpacking the intertwined relationship between them. Through data gathered from an extensive period of fieldwork, that resulted in 29 interviews with different actors, this thesis provides a new and holistic understanding of dissident republicanism, not as a separate entity but as an inherently intertwined phenomenon in direct relation to the republican mainstream. Appreciating the origins and function of dissident groups is important in understanding their strategies and activities, and ultimately in determining possible solutions. It enhances understanding of some of the underlying difficulties in the Northern Irish peace process.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cormac, Rory
Mumford, Andrew
Keywords: irish republicanism, northern ireland, ulster, troubles, dissidents
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Politics and International Relations
Item ID: 56034
Depositing User: De Heus, Annabelle
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 11:31
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/56034

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