By C. McGrattan

ISBN-10: 0230238912

ISBN-13: 9780230238916

This quantity contains a second look of the Northern eire clash and the continuing peace procedure, utilizing formerly unreleased archival fabric. The publication appears at offerings and omissions through the most political events and the British and Irish states that lay at the back of the emergence and endurance of the "Troubles."

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Extra resources for Northern Ireland 1968-2008: The Politics of Entrenchment

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123 The book also challenges the more normative aspects of international relations theory and Northern Ireland. 124 Regardless of the normative and practical problems involved in meeting the consociationalist target of ‘imposing power-sharing’,125 this book highlights a fundamental problem with the attempted internationalising of the Northern Ireland conflict: namely, that it tends to be based on a distortion of the historical record. 127 The evidence and the general narrative presented in this book stands in sharp contrast to these ideas, not least because it stresses how ‘lessons’ are always learned in a highly particularistic and fragmentary manner and are, therefore, often loaded with historical and political significance.

114 That evidence suggests that rather than simply acquiescing to the violent campaign or the threat of nationalistic ‘outbidding’ by the IRA or Sinn Féin, the SDLP retained a gradualist or reformist bent – undoubtedly, due in part to the longevity within the party’s hierarchy of key civil rights leaders such as John Hume, Austin Currie and Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt. While Hume and the SDLP emphasised for the first time the importance of recognising the need for unionist consent for constitutional change, I suggest that, placed within the perspective of the longue durée, the contribution of the SDLP to constitutional nationalism was one of upholding consistent principles based on civil rights and gradual progress towards closer links with the Republic.

A fourth problem with the institutionalist-type approach is that it overemphasises the capacity of political elites to manipulate the past to their own ends. 69 The complexity of the situation in Northern Ireland meant that political power was severely diluted and that unintended consequences often had a greater effect on political outcomes than a simple instrumentalist perspective would suggest. As is pointed out in chapter 4, for example, the dilemma of the British government was that it had to deal not only with actors with 20 Northern Ireland 1968–2008 multiple and divergent goals, but with the cumulative effect of historical decision-making.

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Northern Ireland 1968-2008: The Politics of Entrenchment by C. McGrattan


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