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Rebels' Perspectives of the Legacy of Past Violence and of the Current Peace in Post-Agreement Northern Ireland: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis


Political PsychologyJournal abstract

Former members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and organizers of peaceful civil rights organizations were interviewed to assess how these individuals interpreted the current social conditions in Post-Agreement Northern Ireland. Contrary to the intercommunity ideals of the Good Friday Agreement, our results suggest that people continue to exist in a society where political power is based on the division of communities, where ordinary people are not motivated to contribute to politics and where everyday life is fundamentally affected by the agreements of strongly opposed politicians. Analysis of transcripts revealed that people lived in a climate that presented violence as inappropriate yet effective. To that end, members of the community were negotiating a period of social psychological conflict and were described as living in a situation of unease rather than peace. Participants warned that conditions appear to be creating tensions that could lead to future violence.

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