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Title: The loyal heart in me : an investigation into the identity of contemporary paramilitary loyalism
Author: Reed, Richard James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 1125
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is an exploration of the evolution of paramilitary loyalist identity from the inception of the modern UVF through to 2011. It is guided by a theoretical framework that defines identity as the outworking of cultural and political practices that serve to preserve a boundary between those inside a group, and those outside; something thus utterly dependent upon, and shaped by, interactions with others. Analysis of the extensive documentary and interview material of this research under this theoretical framework revealed a loyalist identity that mobilised in response to a series of common emotions, and a shared belief that the appropriate response to militant republicanism was violent suppression. The thesis describes a loyalism that was simultaneously militant and violent, underwritten by a tendency to 'other' that which is different, but that also evolved into a distinctly working class and intensely localised identity. The thesis posits that central to this evolution is loyalism's resistance to mainstream unionism and a narrative of betrayal by a disinterested British establishment, thus suggesting that academic analysis of loyalism should move beyond the simplistic 'pro-state' categorisation. The thesis also challenges the concept of 'new loyalism', demonstrating how the central tenets of the media-friendly loyalism of the post-ceasefire period were part of loyalism's complex persona from the early stages of the conflict It concludes that loyalism's contemporary condition is the result of a destabilising and fracturing tension between a progressive, dynamic and politically independent identity, and the conservative and violent instincts that characterised paramilitary mobilisation. It concludes that today the UDA and UVF remain caught within this tension, constrained in their ability to progress by the dynamics from which they were formed and that have sustained their presence since. Currently decommissioned but not demobilised, the UDA and UVF are fundamentally inappropriate vehicles for further conflict transformation processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available