Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.535156
Title: Unionism and human rights in Northern Ireland
Author: Munce, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
According to Richard English, “one of the most conspicuous features of the scholarly literature in recent years has been the lack of scrutiny which certain subjects have received – subject(s) which the explosion of the Northern Irish conflict might have been expected to stimulate” (English, 1996, p.221). One subject, which has received little academic consideration, despite recent developments, has been the area of unionism and human rights in Northern Ireland. The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate and consider the attitudes of influential strands of unionist opinion towards the concept of human rights as that narrative as been applied and interpreted in Northern Ireland. In order to consider fully the position of influential strands of unionist opinion on human rights, the thesis does this firstly, through theoretical engagement with what is meant by the concept of human rights and an examination of unionist political thought. Secondly, through examining the practical application of human rights in Northern Ireland, which means investigating the position of influential strands of unionist opinion on a Northern Ireland Bill of Rights (pre and post Belfast Agreement) and the relationship of key unionist elites with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC). The thesis poses four interconnected and overlapping questions. Firstly, are influential strands of unionist opinion sceptical and suspicious of human rights as that concept as been interpreted and applied in Northern Ireland? Secondly, if unionists have expressed anxiety, what aspects of human rights discourse in Northern Ireland are key unionist elites sceptical of? Thirdly, is this anxiety universal or do significant cleavages within unionism exist? Fourthly, why are unionists anxious about human rights discourse in Northern Ireland? This thesis aims to address the absence of any research or academic study of this area of Northern Ireland politics and in doing so increase our knowledge and understanding of unionism’s relationship with this particular aspect of the peace process in Northern Ireland and of recent debates about the protection of human rights in Northern Ireland. It also aims to move beyond the anecdotal and rhetorical manner in which this area has been presented in the academic literature and in popular political discourse and develop a deeper understanding than currently exists about the nature of the relationship between key unionist elites and human rights in Northern Ireland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.535156  DOI: Not available
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