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Hearty, Kevin (2016)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: H1, K1
This article is an empirical case study of how the Irish republican narrative on policing in Northern Ireland evolved from an absolutist position of rejection to one of post-conflict ‘critical engagement’. Drawing on previous research by McEvoy and by Mulcahy it critically evaluates the strategic dimensions to the (re)framing of this narrative in order to aid mobilisation throughout the course of the conflict and then subsequently the transition in Northern Ireland. Positing that the Irish republican policing narrative can be conceptualised into four distinct phases (passive rejection, ‘Ulsterisation’, disbandment and ‘critical engagement’), it critiques how the process of narrative (re)framing enabled Irish republicans to adapt their policing narrative to mobilise in response to unfolding political developments in Northern Ireland. Although cognisant of certain dominant narrative themes prevailing across multiple narrative phases, this article examines how the issue of policing was subject to changing narrative frames as the ‘end point’ the narrative sought to make changed from phase to phase. The changing narrative ‘end points’, this article will argue, developed in tandem with changes in the relationship between Irish republicans and the Northern Ireland state but it also argues that this process must be looked at beyond study of narrative as outcome.
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