Gendering Demilitarisation and Justice in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

This article:

Exposes how masculinised accounts of conflict transformational processes in Northern Ireland have distorted the historical record of the region's on-going transition from violent conflict.

Assesses the theoretical and practical effects of de-gendering the analysis of conflict transformational processes in the region.

Provides an empirical study of women's hidden contribution to the reduction of levels of paramilitary violence in ethnically divided, working-class communities in the region.

Utilises focus group data to develop a gender-sensitive reading of community justice, security and peace.

The 1998 Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland provoked local-level processes of demilitarisation that focused on developing community-based restorative justice practices to replace paramilitary forms of justice. These schemes were viewed as important aspects of the broader process of conflict transformation in the region. The dominant narrative surrounding the development of these new justice forms framed them as an outcome of the efforts of ex-combatant men. This article contests this narrative and examines women's contribution to the development of CBRJ in Northern Ireland. Using data from focus groups, the article exposes the consequences of displacing women in conflict transformational analysis. Additionally, it explores how women's articulation of their conflict transformational practices engenders a critical reframing of key terms in conflict transformational narratives including peace, security, and justice. This exploration reinforces wider feminist claims that any analysis of conflict transformational processes that displaces gender is both conceptually and politically problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-680
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Volume17
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

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Keywords

  • gender
  • Conflict transformation
  • women's security
  • Northern Ireland

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