Socio-ideological fantasy and the Northern Ireland conflict

The Other side

Author:
Adrian Millar
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Conducting an analysis of some of the most candid interview materials ever gathered from former Irish Republican Army (IRA) members and loyalists in Northern Ireland, this book demonstrates through a psychoanalysis of slips of the tongue, jokes, rationalisations and contradictions that it is the unconscious dynamics of the conflict — that is, the pleasure to be found in suffering, failure, domination, submission and ignorance, and in rivalry over jouissance — that lead to the reproduction of polarisation between the Catholic and Protestant communities. As a result, it contends that traditional approaches to conflict resolution which overlook the unconscious are doomed and argues that a Lacanian psychoanalytic understanding of socio-ideological fantasy has great potential for informing the way we understand and study all inter-religious and ethnic conflicts and, as such, deserves to be further developed in conflict-management processes. Whether readers find themselves agreeing with the arguments in the book or not, they are sure to find it a change from both traditional approaches to conflict resolution and the existing mainly conservative analyses of the Northern Ireland conflict.

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