Peace Building and the Politics of Responsibility: Governing Northern Ireland

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This article looks at the implications of the politics of trauma for building and sustaining peace. Drawing in particular on the Northern Irish example, it argues that articulating a commitment to societal responsibility is essential to building a peaceful democracy. The paper brings together recent work on political responsibility by Iris Marion Young and Eric Gordy to explore how models for building democratic peace (consociationalism, deliberative democracy and agonistic democracy) may be reinforced and complemented with a consideration of ideas concerning social connections. While these ideas are implicit within the 1998 Northern Irish peace accord, I suggest that the practice of governing Northern Ireland frequently clashes with the persistence of unresolved issues from the past. The article suggests that a policy of placing responsibility at the forefront of political discourse may work to constrain these clashes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-541
JournalPeace and Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 18 Sept 2014


  • Peace Building Politics of Responsibility: Governing Northern Ireland


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