Generational Change and Redefining Identities: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland
12 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014 Aug, 1
Because Northern Ireland did not experience a Truth and Reconciliation Commission or a formal process of reconciling those who perceive themselves as victims and those who are identified as perpetrators, improving relations between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland has proven slow and difficult. Older cohorts have not redefined their identities or are as likely to change their political orientation as a result. There is evidence of significant identity change occurring in Northern Ireland, especially among the younger cohorts of Protestants in Northern Ireland. The peace process was built on the assumption that intergenerational change in terms of conceptions of identity would transform historically sectarian conceptions of identity into less reactionary and hostile ones. This would open up aspirations for new relations across the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland. Thus, the slow process of reconciliation that has been achieved thus far in Northern Ireland may accelerate as residual support for republican dissidents and loyalist paramilitaries fade. Many potential intervening events, so called period effects, may intervene and stop or slow this slow process of social and identity change in Northern Ireland.
Keywords: Peacebuilding, Generational Change, Northern Ireland
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