Dis/agreeing Ireland: contexts, obstacles, hopes
The 1995 Framework Document, 1998 Belfast Agreement, and the new Belfast Assembly, all marked significant progress in the Northern Ireland conflict. However, while broadly welcomed, they swiftly became the new terrain for old disagreements. Dis/Agreeing Ireland sets the conflict in its historical and contemporary contexts and argues that it is only through an Ireland-wide focus on other ‘disagreements’ - on issues of class, gender and other transnational concerns - that ‘agreement’ can be reached on the national conflict. Academics and activists from the North and South of Ireland, the Americas, Britain and Australia - Protestant and Catholic and neither, Nationalist and Unionist and neither – provide a comprehensive and wide-ranging collection of perspectives on the contexts of the conflict, the obstacles to a genuine settlement, and hopes of constructing one. Key themes include; the dynamics for cross-border integration; ‘cosmopolitan’ nationalism in Southern Ireland and British nationalism in Britain; the new roles of women; gender and class oppression and the mutual reinforcement of democratic and human rights ‘deficits’; the new thinking in loyalism and republicanism; and the potential for bridging the sectarian and political divides through cross-border political communities and democratic structures. Uniquely emphasising the necessary North/South aspect of any settlement and the wider historical and European context, this volume is a much-needed text on the politics of reconciliation in Ireland.
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