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Palgrave Macmillan

Ex-Combatants, Religion, and Peace in Northern Ireland

The Role of Religion in Transitional Justice

ISBN 9781137299352
Publication Date February 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict

Much has been written about the influence of religion on the Northern Ireland conflict and the part played by ex-combatants in the peace process. Yet we know very little about the religious outlook of ex-combatants themselves. Are they personally devout? Is religion important to their political identity? Did faith play a role in their decision to take up arms, or lay them down? And now that their war is over, does religion help them cope with the past?
Based on original interviews with ex-combatants from across the political and religious divide, this book addresses these questions, shedding new light on the interplay of religion, identity and violence in Ireland. It also shows how the case of Northern Ireland illuminates the current international debate around religion and peacemaking. Arguing that advocates of religious interventions in transitional justice often naively exaggerate its influence, a theoretical model for understanding the role of religion in transitional justice is proposed.

JOHN BREWER is Professor of Post Conflict Studies at Queen's University, Belfast and former President of the British Sociological Association. He is elected to four learned societies and has an honorary degree from the Brunel University for services to social science. His latest book is The Public Value of Social Science.
DAVID MITCHELL is Research Associate, School of Communication, University of Ulster at Jordanstown and former Research Assistant in the School of Sociology, University of Aberdeen. He completed his Doctorate at the University of Ulster, Magee College, where he was tutor and Associate of INCORE (Centre for International Conflict Research).
GERARD LEAVEY is Professor and Director of the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Ulster, UK. He has undertaken extensive research in mental health services and has a long-standing interest in help-seeking, inequalities, religion and ethnicity.

Religion and the Northern Ireland Conflict
The Personal Faith of Ex-combatants
Religion and Motivations for Violence
Religion and Prison
Ex-combatants and the Churches
Perspectives on the Past: Religion in the Personal and the Political
Conclusion Religion and Transitional Justice in Northern Ireland


"This book is the first of its kind. There will no doubt be further studies and publications on the subject in the future but this important and much needed text will prove to be the reference point concerning religion and ex-combatants in Northern Ireland for students and academics for many years to come." - Dave Magee Blog
"[This book's] main conclusions deserve to be widely disseminated and discussed." - Dr Gladys Ganiel, Trinity College Dublin
"Based on 29 in-depth interviews with loyalists (part of the Protestant/unionist community) and republicans (part of the Catholic/nationalist community), this is the first major book to analyse the religious beliefs and practices of those whoengaged in violence, including their perceptions of how religion influenced them." - Marginalia
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