Civil Society, Solidarity and Collective Action: Conflict-Related Displacement in Northern Ireland’s Troubles, 1969-1974

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This article examines the extraordinary stories of how thousands of active citizens and citizen groups forged sustained levels of collective action to coordinate and manage the evacuation and shelter of thousands forced from their homes and communities during Northern Irelands Troubles. Based on in-depth interviews, the articles originality resides in its unique insights into the first-hand narratives of fear, refuge, and movement caused by mass displacement that have hitherto been largely side-lined from the history of the Troubles. Furthermore, it argues that the herculean task of organising evacuations, journeys, and refuge centres by civil society had less to do with Putnam’s pluralist concept of social capital and was instead rooted in ideals of solidarity, collective identity, and social action. In the case of Northern Ireland’s mass displacement between 1969 and 1974, the solidarity and collective response of civic society was premised upon ethno-cultural ties and identities but also derived from a spectrum of critical perceptions of the state; perceptions ranging from inept at one end and outright complicit at the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-304
Number of pages24
JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date26 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was funded by Irish Research Council; Busteed Postdoctoral Scholarship, University of Liverpool.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Displacement
  • Civil society
  • Social capital
  • solidarity
  • the Troubles
  • Northern Ireland
  • social capital
  • civil society


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