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Disengagement and de-radicalisation in the Irish Republican movement

Clubb, Gordon (2014) Disengagement and de-radicalisation in the Irish Republican movement. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The thesis explains how terrorism campaigns end, using social movement theory to analyse the Provisional IRA’s disengagement from armed violence and how this led others in the Irish Republican movement to move away from violence and remain so. The thesis argues that successful disengagement is dependent on how it is framed and the extent to which it resonates within the movement. Frame resonance is shaped by the extent it is consistent with the group’s goals, the presence of linkages in order to diffuse the frame, and the perceived credibility of those advocating it. This process ensured that most of the Provisional IRA supported disengagement, which then began to organisationally disengage as part of the peace process. Subsequently, linkages were built up with the Irish Republican movement, leading to the disengagement frame to become de-radicalised, thus providing stronger barriers against violence. The disengagement frame’s resonance in the Irish Republican movement, underpinned by political/structural change, has led to a durable decline in terrorism and political violence. The thesis’ original contribution has five dimensions: 1) the thesis draws on interviews with a broader range of actors typically found in terrorism studies; 2) the re-conceptualisation of de-radicalisation provides nuanced explanations of why attitudinal change is important for ending terrorism; 3) the thesis provides the first multi-level analysis of how terrorism ends by using a social movement approach, thus providing a more comprehensive explanation; 4) while many have recognised the ‘next generation’ as a crucial factor, the thesis is the first to analyse the interaction between generations and how the break in inter-generational support for violence emerges; and 5) the thesis challenges many assumptions on organisational disengagement by outlining how informal networks of combatants continue to exist, but shows how this can actually prevent terrorism rather than just pose a risk to recidivism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds) > Centre for International Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.643604
Depositing User: Dr Gordon Clubb
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 09:47
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8409

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