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Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland (Studies in Strategic Peacebuilding) Hardcover – August 31, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a work of impressive scholarship from a young researcher who has already made an international reputation as an analyst of the vicissitudes of Northern Ireland's peace process. It takes a refreshingly novel approach to political and cultural change within Unionism and provides a rich blend of visual data, qualitative interviews, and analysis. The book avoids the temptation to romanticize the peace process and is hard-hitting and realistic about the prospects of conflict transformation amongst Unionists. The book makes a significant contribution to the new field of the sociology of peace processes."---John D. Brewer, Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Aberdeen

"In this book Lee Smithey does a terrific job analyzing how grassroots activists and social movements in Northern Ireland's Protestant community are transforming their relationship with Catholics in ways that reflect and promote a more or less peaceful coexistence in this once strife-ton region. To do this he offers fine-grained evidence resulting from his many years of intensive fieldwork to argue that modifications in cultural expressions such as murals, commemorative rituals, parades and flag displays are central to the creation of new understandings and behaviors in the post-1998 period as both communities slowly begin to recognize their shared past and joint future."---Marc Howard Ross, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science, Bryn Mawr College

"Lee Smithey's patient research and sophisticated analysis reveal innovative, if frequently incremental, moves toward less defensive identities and more constructive politics from a quarter often dismissed as relentlessly reactionary: the grassroots institutions and practices of Northern Ireland's Protestant unionist and loyalist communities. His findings are most heartening for Northern Ireland. They are also suggestive of what might be required for movement toward peace in ethnic, national, and religious conflicts everywhere."---Joe Liechty, co-author of Moving Beyond Sectarianism: Religion, Conflict, and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

"Such fascinating, broad and carefully-presented research forms the basis for some insightful and important obvervations by the author. ... For such reasons, the book makes a brilliant and much-needed contribution to academic understanding about change (and resistance) among unionism and loyalism in the decade after the 1998 Agreement..." --Contemporary Sociology

About the Author

Lee A. Smithey coordinates the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the college's Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where he teaches and studies social movements, ethnopolitical conflict transformation, and nonviolent conflict methods.

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