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Title: The political strategy of Sinn Féin, 1981-2005
Author: Frampton, Martyn George
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis examines the evolution in the political strategy of the Irish Republican Party, Sinn Féin, between 1981 and 2005. The argument advanced is that Sinn Féin operated under a single, cohesive leadership (under the joint stewardship of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness), was composed of highly-committed activist members and remained inextricably intertwined with an armed, and for the most part, active, organisation (the IRA). It is argued that, because of these characteristics, the party remained driven by a central ideological goal (Irish unity). For Sinn Féin, the primacy of the ideological objective remained explicit; there was no abandonment, or revisionism, of that objective in this period. Such a view challenges the more recent ‘peace process’ oriented view of Sinn Féin, which has imposed a schema that juxtaposes republican ‘politics’, with republican ‘war’; the notion being that, during the 1990s, republicans exchanged the latter for the former and were, therefore, ‘tamed’ into a ‘normal’ political party. Perhaps the foremost example of such an account is that of Ed Moloney and the thesis gives lengthy consideration to Moloney’s hypothesis and the problems with it. The thesis also seeks to show that interpretations, such as that of Moloney, rest on a false dichotomy. As Clausewitz once said, ‘war is merely the continuation of politics’; with respect to Sinn Féin, it is argued here, the inverse formulation needs also to be considered, with republican politics seen, by republicans themselves, as an extension of the war. By focusing on strategy the thesis reveals the close relationship between war and politics in the republican mind and the way in which the republican movement’s strategic objectives have evolved over the last twenty-five years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available