In the last generation, Northern Ireland has undergone a tortuous yet remarkable process of social and political change. This book explores what Northern Ireland was like during violent conflict, and whether the situation is any different 'after the troubles'. It examines the political developments and divisions essential to a critical understanding of the nature of Northern Irish society. The book focuses a number of elements of popular cultural practice that are often overlooked when social scientists address Northern Ireland. Sport plays an important though often dispiriting role that in Northern Irish society. It looks at some of the problems and ways forward for transitional justice and memory work in Northern Ireland. The book reviews the history of strategic spatial policy in post-partition Northern Ireland. It draws on feminist scholarship to expose how explanations of the ethnic conflict that ignore gender are always partial. The book illustrates how feminist and gender politics are part of the political culture of Northern Ireland and offers conceptual resources to academics engaged in investigating the conflict. It further provides a brief outline of critical race theory (CRT) and the critique of whiteness therein before using it as a basis from which to examine the research literature on racism in Northern Ireland. The course that popular music has taken in Northern Ireland during 1990s of the peace process, is also considered and the most crucial issues of the peace process, police reform, are examined.
The consociational mode of government envisaged by those who framed the Belfast Agreement proves to be emblematic of a broader concern to build an equitable and inclusive social order in Northern Ireland. The dispute over 'guns and government' inexorably served to harden and polarise political opinion in Northern Ireland. The ramifications of the critical imbalance within the peace process would become readily apparent when it came time to initiate the principal institutions conceived under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). During the period of the troubles the gnawing disaffection of workingclass nationalists was evidently the most palpable source and emblem of the political instability prevalent within Northern Irish society. The persistence of ethno-political prejudice in particular suggests the need to exercise a little caution before speaking of Northern Ireland as a place that exists 'after the troubles'.