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Title: Ulster's uncertain menders? : the challenge of reintegration and reconciliation for Ulster loyalists in a post-ceasefire society
Author: Brennan, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 8392
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis critically analyses the process of building peace in the post-ceasefire space of Northern Ireland, from the perspective of loyalist ex-combatants attempting to reintegrate as part of a Disarmament Demobilisation Reintegration (DDR) programme. It does this to understand the challenges loyalist ex-combatants face as they move from ’uncertain defenders’ to becoming peacebuilders, or uncertain menders. In drawing on French post-structuralists, the thesis develops a conceptual framework, to critique the Liberal Peace, which expects ex-combatants to play a positive role in the reintegration process and promote reconciliation once a peace settlement has been agreed. This compilation of loyalist ex-combatant experiences then deepens knowledge on how post-Cold War peace theory shapes the way of doing peacebuilding in an increasingly neoliberal global environment. Learning from loyalist ex-combatant experiences then helps explain the everyday challenges marginalised and disadvantaged groups face in a post-ceasefire space, not just in Northern Ireland but in other conflict zones attempting to regenerate societies emerging from violent conflict. Based on these everyday challenges the thesis establishes that in the absence of a formal DDR programme, or a positive peace, many ex-combatants, and other marginalised groups, become susceptible to the coercive manipulation of local political and civil society elites, post-ceasefire paramilitary agency and international funders, who use neoliberal governmentalities to shape the conduct of conduct in peacebuilding to affect a wider societal transformation, from violent conflict towards peace and neoliberalism. With this paradigmatic shift away from tackling the underlying causes of violent conflict and promoting social justice, the thesis establishes that neoliberalism increasingly produces a ‘violent peace’ that increases, rather than reduces, the potential for polities to relapse into violence. To help resolve this negative peace, the thesis concludes with the promotion of ‘radical hope’ where subaltern critical agency may non-violently guide polities from violent conflict towards a post-neoliberal peace.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available