Chameleonic Leadership: Towards a New Understanding of the Northern Ireland Peace Process

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Abstract

This article argues that the interpretations of political leadership in peace processes offered by both the political leadership literature and the peace and conflict studies literature, to date, are often inappropriate in the context of Northern Ireland. It contends that an alternative interpretation of political leadership during the Northern Ireland peace process is critical to the development of any future analyses of that process, and also to the development of the analyses of peace processes more generally. The article then suggests that political leadership during the Northern Ireland peace process was often necessarily contradictory in style and substance and argues that such contradictions and inconsistencies form the basis of the alternative interpretation that this article seeks ultimately to present. At this point, the article turns to the introduction of a novel alternative concept, that of chameleonic leadership, outlining what this concept might mean in both theory and in practice, in terms of the peace process, and using the concept as a means of bringing the reader towards a new understanding of political leadership during the Northern Ireland peace process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-75
JournalLeadership
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006

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