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
Tourism and Neoliberal Peace-Building in Divided Societies
Deeply divided societies that have undergone extreme civil violence are often framed as "collectively traumatized" or in a state of "melancholia." Such aetiologies support peace-building initiatives, which seek either to normalize society by forgetting the legacy of violence and starting anew or by engendering societal remembering to work through trauma and bring about societal healing and eventual "closure." Examining the case of Northern Ireland, this article considers how these discrepant processes regarding collective trauma have become bound with fierce ethnopolitical debates and counter-insurgency methods regarding how to promote the region to tourists. I argue that both approaches represent nostrums, which do little to support peace-building and are ultimately complementary with neoliberal designs concerning the relationship among tourism, economic prosperity and conflict-regulation. Discourses concerning "collective trauma" must therefore be viewed as political strategies to shape the nation, which are finally embodied in the tourist journey to "traumatized sites."
Few aspects of Northern Irish political culture are as denuded as those that attempt to locate and understand the terrorist act. From the exasperation of Margaret Thatcher’s outburst at the time of the Hunger Strikes that ‘it is not political, it is a crime’, to the exhausted freedom fighter/terrorist binary opposition recently pressed back into service by Peter Mandelson, terrorism has consistently been perceived as an act that defies the realm of civic discourse. Indeed, it has been the traditional role of language in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist atrocity to present itself as unable to capture the overwhelming materiality of the event itself. What, so the argument runs, can words offer in the face of such violence? Understood as such, every terrorist outrage becomes unspeakable.
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.
Michael Murphy, David Belbin, Dennis Brown, David C. Green, and Matthew Steggle
The Iron-Blue Vault: Selected Poems by Attila József. Translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth and Frederick Turner (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 1999), ISBN 1-85224-503-4 £8.95
Fallen among Scribes: Conversations with Novelists, Poets, Critics. David Gerard (Wilmslow: Elvet Press, 1998), ISBN 0951077686 £7.50
Breaking Enmities: Religion, Literature and Culture in Northern Ireland, 1967–97. Patrick Grant (London: Macmillan, 1999), ISBN 0-333-69829-0, Hardback £45
The Holocaust and the Text: Speaking the Unspeakable. Edited by A. Leak and G. Paizis (London: Macmillan, 2000), ISBN 0-333-73887-X, £15.99
Introduction to Renaissance English Comedy. Alexander Leggatt (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), ISBN 0-7190-4965-2, Paperback £9.99
(Dis) Uniting the Kingdom on Holiday
, compared to only 27 percent in the eighteen to twenty-four age group. In terms of location, the differences were even more obvious. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, as did Northern Ireland and London. By contrast Wales, Cornwall, the English
system for the most academically able children (respectively the Northern Ireland Education Act of 1947 and the Butler Education Act of 1944), affirms his familial roots by modelling his poetic identity and aesthetic on his forefathers physical labour in
War Novelist, Defence Publicist and Counterspy
Roger T. Stearn
's Weekly News as ‘Spies of the Kaiser’. The Weekly News was a Dundee penny ‘national newspaper’ with an extensive circulation, over 330,000, in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. Established in 1855, it had adopted features of the ‘New
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
Love, Sex, and Scandal in Twentieth-Century Ireland
encouraged (or forced, according to Leslie) his son to join the army in 1939. Leslie deserted St. Lucia Barracks in Omagh, Northern Ireland, in 1940. He then worked on a farm for a few months before hitchhiking to Dublin. Almost as soon as he got to Dublin