"Negotiating New Roles:" Irish Republican Women and the Politics of Conflict Transformation


Gilmartin, Niall. 2015. “Negotiating New Roles: Irish Republican Women and the Politics of Conflict Transformation.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (1): 58–76. doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.806060.

Author: Niall Gilmartin


Based on in-depth interviews, this article critically assesses the current roles that Republican women occupy as the North of Ireland continues to emerge from conflict. In doing so, it argues that women's political mobilization during the conflict period can be carried forward into post-war scenarios; however, it is the nature of that activism that proves problematic. The conflict transformation period witnessed a more highly formalized role for Republicans that contrasts sharply with radical spaces opened up during the conflict; in particular, the re-emergence of rigid state institutions coupled with formal political parties appears to severely restrict women's sense of political mobility. As Republicans move away from ‘revolutionary agitation’ into more formalized politics, many Republican women are encountering cultural and structural barriers to their involvement within that realm. This research finds that while some women are participating within the sphere of formal politics, many are continuing their political activities within the community and voluntary sector, which they view as a far more effective mechanism for exerting political agency.

Keywords: Republican women, feminism, North of Ireland, conflict resolution, female combatants, women's activism

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Gender, Women, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland

Year: 2015

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