UCL Uncovering Politics

Legacies of Armed Conflict in Northern Ireland

Episode Summary

This week we are looking at legacies of armed conflict in Northern Ireland. How are punishment attacks today connected to the violence of the past?

Episode Notes

Northern Ireland experienced three decades of violence from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Thousands of people were killed, injured, or bereaved. The so-called Troubles were brought to an end by the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement of 1998, an accord between the British and Irish governments and most of the main political parties in Northern Ireland that established new governing arrangements for Northern Ireland within the UK and set out how Northern Ireland might in future leave the UK and become part of a united Ireland, if majorities both north and south of the border wanted it.

In many ways, the 1998 Agreement is a model peace settlement. Power-sharing government sputters, but survives. Everyday lives have been transformed. Violence between the communities has almost ended. Yet many legacies of the past live on. Today, we are focusing on one of those – namely, violence within communities, and, in particular, punishment attacks meted out by paramilitary groups against people whom they accuse of criminal or anti-social behaviour.

What explains the persistence of such attacks? And does that carry lessons for peace-building processes elsewhere? Two colleagues at the Department have just published a study exploring just these questions and they join us for this episode...

Kristin Bakke is Professor of Political Science and International Relations here in the UCL Department of Political Science and leads our Conflict and Change research cluster. She is also affiliated with the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. And she will be a familiar voice to regular podcast listeners. Kit Rickard, meanwhile, is a PhD student in the department, as well as a Research Associate and Teaching Assistant and again a member of the Conflict and Change research cluster. He is just about to submit his doctoral thesis on how external states affect civil wars.

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