By C. McGrattan
This quantity contains a re-evaluation of the Northern eire clash and the continued peace approach, utilizing formerly unreleased archival fabric. The ebook seems to be at offerings and omissions by means of the most political events and the British and Irish states that lay in the back of the emergence and patience of the "Troubles."
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Additional info for Northern Ireland 1968-2008: The Politics of Entrenchment
49 However, as with the strategic approach, the sociological perspective fails to conceptualise how change and continuity occur across time. Thus, the sociological approach confuses causal relationships. In assuming that political outcomes follow from people’s identities and beliefs, it ignores how historical events, power disparities and policy decisions may affect developments. 50 In other words, political groupings do not merely ‘act out’ ethnoreligious identities; instead, they may also respond to perceived opportunities and the out-workings of previous choices.
Which events, if any, set in motion the process of escalating polarisation and inexorable division? This chapter’s central claim is that once-viable alternatives to maximalism and entrenchment were discarded in 1971 and that, from that date, Northern Ireland’s political parties pursued divergent policy paths, making rapprochement increasingly unlikely. Certainly, the conflict between the PIRA and the British army had been gathering strength from late 1969, and from 1968 even moderate, middle-class Catholic opinion was becoming further alienated from the Northern state.
There may be several reasons for this. Unlike formal institutions, policies may be easy to change. They are often responsive in nature – reacting to changing events or fluctuations in public or elite opinion. 82 Again, the varied nature of policy-making militates against simple classification or consensus on the type or distinguishing features of policies. These problems are not insurmountable. Indeed, if ‘Historical change … invariably results from the interaction of external determinants and human agency’,83 then decision-making plays a key and determining role in political outcomes.