Abandoning historical conflict?

Former political prisoners and reconciliation in Northern Ireland

By Peter Shirlow, Jon Tonge, James McAuley and Catherine McGlynn

Abandoning historical conflict?
Hardcover +
  • Price: £17.99
  • ISBN: 9780719080111
  • Publish Date: Jul 2010
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £17.99
  • ISBN: 9780719087448
  • Publish Date: Jun 2012
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £17.99
  • ISBN: 9781847797537
  • Publish Date: Jul 2013
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-8477-9753-7
    • Published Date: July 2013


    Drawing on over 150 interviews with former IRA, INLA, UVF and UFF prisoners, this is a major analysis of why Northern Ireland has seen a transition from war to peace. Most accounts of the peace process are 'top-down', relying upon the views of political elites. This book is 'bottom-up', analysing the voices of those who actually 'fought the war'. What made them fight, why did they stop and what are the lessons for other conflict zones?

    Using unrivalled access to members of the armed groups, the book, available for the first time in paperback, offers a critical appraisal of one-dimensional accounts of the onset of peace, grounded in 'mutually hurting stalemate' and 'ripeness', which downgrade the political and economic aspects of conflict. Military stalemate had been evident since the early 1970s and offers little in explaining the timing of the peace process. Moreover, republicans and loyalists based their ceasefires upon very different perceptions of transformation or victory.

    Based on a Leverhulme Trust project and written by an expert team, Abandoning Conflict offers a new analysis, based on subtle interplays of military, political, economic and personal changes and experiences.



    PSAI (Political Studies Association Ireland) Brian Farrell best book prize winner


    1. Politically motivated prisoners in Northern Ireland
    2. Former prisoners in a global context
    3. Political views and understandings
    4. Imprisonment, ideological development and change
    5. Political and tactical change among former prisoners
    6. Conflict transformation and perceptions of the 'other'
    7. Former prisoners and societal reconstruction


    Peter Shirlow is Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Queen's University Belfast

    Jon Tonge is Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool

    James McAuley is Professor of Sociology and Irish Studies at the University of Huddersfield

    Catherine McGlyn is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Huddersfield

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