‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Ulster Loyalist Perspectives on the IRA and Irish Republicanism

McAuley, James W and Ferguson, Neil (2016) ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Ulster Loyalist Perspectives on the IRA and Irish Republicanism. Terrorism and Political Violence. ISSN 0954-6553 (Accepted for Publication)

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This article draws on data from one-to-one interviews with members and former members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Red Hand Commando (RHC), Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) to explore the dynamic and fluid perceptions of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Sinn Féin among Ulster loyalists. The article will explore how attitudes and perceptions are influenced by the shifting political landscape in Northern Ireland as Ulster loyalists come to terms with the new realities created by the peace-process, security normalization, decommissioning and the rise in the threat of dissident republican violence. The article will also demonstrate that these perceptions are not purely antagonistic and based on the creation of negative stereotypical ‘enemy images’ fuelled by decades of conflict, but pragmatic, bound to societal and local events and influenced by intragroup attitudes and divisions, in addition to the expected conflictual ingroup vs. outgroup relationships. Finally, the paper will explore how loyalists employ republicanism and the transformation of the Provisional IRA in particular, as a mirror or benchmark to reflect on their own progress since 1994.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Terrorism and Political Violence, (2016), [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09546553.2016.1155938
Keywords: Northern Ireland, Paramilitaries, Republicanism, Loyalism, Conflict Transformation
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Neil Ferguson
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 15:22
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 00:15
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1036

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