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Title: The stories they tell: narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland
Author: O'Neill, K. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 6876
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Northern Ireland suffered a thirty year conflict known as 'the Troubles.' Although there is relative peace now, the society is embroiled in the residual effects of violence. This study looks at the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland. It also explores Maruna and McAdams claim that people create their identity by the narratives they tell. The study includes interviews with representatives from the four groups of combatants who were engaged in the conflict, Republicans (who want a united Ireland), Loyalists (who want to remain British), Police and Army. The narratives focus on what the lives of the combatants were like while active members of the organizations they were involved with, and how they finally came to the decision to 'put down the gun.' The study explores what their lives are like now and their expectations and hopes for the future. The study highlights how many of the issues that my respondents had to deal with were similar, such as security issues, a warrior identity, siress on families and social bonds. Although some of the participants were involved in horrific acts of violence, they all portrayed themselves as 'good' people with good intensions who were caught in abnormal times. The use of humor as a coping technique by all participants is also explored. Although gallows hurnor is entrenched in the collective e societal interaction of Northern Ireland, very little mention of it is made in studies about the conflict. The study concludes by showing how former combatants can play a valuable part in peace building if we are prepared to learn from their stories
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available