Conflict to Peace: Politics and Society in Northern Ireland Over Half a Century

Abstract: 

After three decades of violence, Northern Ireland has experienced unprecedented peace. This book examines the impact of the 1998 Agreement which halted the violence on those most affected by it – the Northern Ireland people themselves. Using public opinion surveys conducted over half a century, this book covers changes in public opinion across all areas of society and politics, including elections, education, community relations and national identity. The surveys show that despite peace, Protestants and Catholics remain as deeply divided as ever. The vast majority marry co-religionists, attend religious schools and have few friends across the religious divide. The results have implications not just for peace-making in Northern Ireland, but for other societies emerging from conflict. The main lesson of peace-making in Northern Ireland is that political reform has to be accompanied by social change across the society as a whole. Peace after conflict needs social as well as political change.

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