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Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland$
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Lee A. Smithey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395877.001.0001

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(p.225) 8 Conclusion
Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Lee A. Smithey

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter reiterates the main foci of the book: the importance to conflict transformation of incremental identity change initiated from within unionist and loyalist organizations as they modify practices that have long served to perform and define their collective identities. The author acknowledges that the processes described in the book can be slow, and there will likely be different expectations across Northern Ireland about the strategies that organizations, such as the Orange Order or loyalist paramilitaries, develop as well as their ability to advance justice, inclusion, and civil society. Ultimately, it is the long-term impact on cross-community relations of persuasion replacing violence, empowerment overcoming fear, and the development of a less contentious symbolic landscape that, regardless of the political status of the region, will determine whether conflict in Northern Ireland has been transformed and made more constructive.

Keywords:   civil society, community relations, conflict transformation, identity change, justice, loyalism, Northern Ireland, peacebuilding, unionism

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