The Role of Intra-Group Consensus-Building in Disarming Militant Groups in Northern Ireland


Berti, Bernadetta and Heifetz Knobel, Ariel and Mason, Gary (2015) The Role of Intra-Group Consensus-Building in Disarming Militant Groups in Northern Ireland. Journal of Mediation & Applied Conflict Analysis, 2 (1). ISSN 2009-7170

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Abstract

This study examines the internal process that led combatant groups in Northern Ireland, focusing on the Loyalist camp, to relinquish armed struggle as a viable strategy to accomplish their political goals. The study focuses on internal dynamics, i.e. intra-group negotiations and consensus-building mechanisms that Loyalist militant organisations employed to switch from violence to non-violence and from confrontation to engagement with their enemies. The paper underlines how the consensus-building process was multi-layered and included a combination of carefully structured internal consultations amongst combatants, together with the crafting and implementation of targeted programs to empower and transform militant organisations and their role within society. The chapter also focuses on the specific roles both ex-prisoners and key faith leaders played in shaping this monumental transformation. Finally, through in-depth case study analysis, the authors examine the main lessons that can be learned from the consensus-building process among Northern Irish Loyalist combatants and discuss its relevance to other intractable conflicts. This paper is based on the chapter "Disarming Militant Groups from Within: Building Support for Peace amongst Combatants in Northern Ireland,” in: Negotiations in Times of Conflict, Sher, G., Kurz, A., (eds.); Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies, forthcoming.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Intra-Group; Consensus-Building; Disarming; Militant Groups; Northern Ireland;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Edward M Kennedy Institute
Item ID: 5842
Depositing User: Kennedy Institute
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2015 12:01
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Mediation & Applied Conflict Analysis
Publisher: Maynooth Academic Publishing
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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