Adrian Millar
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in Socio-ideological fantasy and the Northern Ireland conflict
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This book has shown that the dynamics of the conflict in Northern Ireland are more than simply a matter of two ethnic groups (Protestants and Catholics) suffering from constitutional and political insecurity that causes them to clash over their different national aspirations (John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary's view), or a struggle for national freedom (the republican view), or defence of the status quo (the loyalist view). The interpretation and self-interpretation of any group is complex: the formal articulation of their views is never the whole story. Ethno-national issues must be seen within the wider framework of the Symbolic, Imaginary and Real. The interplay of all three orders results in totalising socio-ideological fantasies based on self-idealisation and illusion that hide both communities' unconscious desires from themselves and reproduce division and antagonism. An examination of the unconscious unearthed some of the rationalisations that these fantasies involve. A Lacanian psychoanalysis of the unconscious in situations of conflict helps remove the cloak that communities unconsciously use to protect themselves.

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