Violence, De-escalation, and Nationalism: Northern Ireland and the Basque Country Compared

Stephanie Lorraine Kerr, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
The sub-state nationalist conflicts in both Northern Ireland and the Basque Country have undergone significant de-escalation. However, while the transformation of the conflict in Northern Ireland involved a negotiated agreement with the host state, that of the conflict in the Basque Country did not. Thus, if the shape of the outcome represents the dependent variable, exploring these transformations requires an examination of three interrelated independent variable groupings. The first explores
more » ... The first explores the operational capacities of each movement through an examination of their resources, and how access to these resources may have changed over time and impacted the overall strategies. Secondly, an examination of state responses to both the conflict itself as well as to changing movement strategies is undertaken. Finally, the third grouping seeks to explore the dynamics the above variables have on the way in which the sub-state nationalist organizations are led and directed. This project found that while both the Republican Movement and the MLNV experienced motivating pulls toward de-escalation and pursuit of movement goals increasingly dominated by institutional politics (Grouping 1), the differences in the responses of the host States (Grouping 2), and the organizational structures through which movement assessments and decisions are funnelled (Grouping 3), allowed for the MLNV to make the more radical commitment to de-escalation in the absence of a negotiated settlement, while the Republican Movement was able to move the bulk of, but not all, its membership into a negotiated agreement with the British state. The Republican Movement experienced greater optimism for and motivation in negotiations than did the MLNV, while the MLNV experienced greater motivation toward de-escalation more generally.
doi:10.20381/ruor-278 fatcat:fta7dxhabjfxffkon3oqwygfwe