This article examines the concept of violence in contemporary political theory focusing in particular on the possibility of rethinking the relationship between violence and democracy. Rather than seeing democracy and violence as contrasting concepts, it argues that democratic societies have always been founded on the basis of violent engagement at some level. And, of course, the modern state has always claimed the legitimate use of force as a key ingredient in its authority. The article contends that many contemporary democratic discourses have lost sight of the integral relationship between democracy and violence. Indeed it is frequently the case that discourses of democracy are couched in ethical terms as the obverse of violence. Ironically, this trend is often most apparent where societies are either making a transition to democracy or where a process of conflict transformation is taking place. The limitations of these approaches for our understanding of violence and democracy will be outlined in this article through an examination of contemporary political developments in Northern Ireland.
The Case of Northern Ireland
The Parading Dispute in Northern Ireland
Within the liberal academic mainstream, normative political theory has in recent years been struggling to come to terms with the increasingly forceful demands of cultural justice. It has become evident that if liberalism is to address in a constructive way political controversies associated with multiculturalism and particularly those conflicts related to deep ethnonational conflicts, then it will have to reframe its commitment to individual freedom. Controversies arising from the politics of cultural pluralism reveal the inadequacy of any normative framework that fails to acknowledge the inextricable connection between individual freedom and the recognition of particular group identities. Individual freedom is conditional on the cultural freedom of those groups to which a specific individual feels a strong affiliation or sense of belonging. A group is culturally free if its members can express and celebrate their distinctiveness without cost to their status as equal citizens. In most Western democracies at least, gay and lesbian citizens, for example, have achieved much in recent decades by securing cultural freedom through the public celebration of their difference. For most of the individuals involved this has been a liberating experience in terms of the recognition by others of their freedom and equality as citizens. This experience of freedom is to be contrasted with the experience of alienation that results when citizens are unjustly forced to choose between the expression of their cultural distinctiveness and the achievement of equal status as members of the political community.
Which Governance Systems are Having a “Good” Pandemic?
Jennifer Gaskell and Gerry Stoker
characterized by a lack of trust, conflict and competition. The asymmetrical devolution which has seen powers taken by Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland also suffers from a lack of engagement and the tendency for Whitehall and Westminster to act without
A Revised Typology of Coercion and Repression in Liberal Democracies
, Robert W. , and Terry Falkenberg White . 1995 . “ Repression and the Liberal State: The Case of Northern Ireland, 1969–972 .” Journal of Conflict Resolution 39 ( 2 ): 330 – 352 . Zanger , Sabine C. 2000 . “ A Global Analysis of the Effect of
Vincent’s book Nationalism and Particularity ( 2002: 4 ), where he points out that “the communal and tribal fragmentations of, for example, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Indonesia and Rwanda are not preferable forms of social existence. They are rather
in central London and were using it as a base for political protest over the G8 summit taking place in Northern Ireland at the time ( BBC News 2013a ). The second news report investigated a football ground in North London where around fifty Romanian