Contemporary unionism and the tactics of resistance

Dixon, Paul (2002) Contemporary unionism and the tactics of resistance. (Working Paper) Dublin, Ireland : Institute for British-Irish Studies. 20 p. (Working Papers in British-Irish Studies, no. 19)

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Abstract

This paper emphasises the importance of the political context for shaping unionist tactics for defending the Union and resisting Irish unity. Some draw a sharp dichotomy between “constitutional” and “unconstitutional” unionism. The Ulster Unionist Party, and perhaps the Democratic Unionist Party, is seen as “constitutional”, while the loyalist parties associated with paramilitary organisations, the Ulster Democratic Party and the Progressive Unionist Party, are seen as “unconstitutional”. Some unionists readily advocate violence while others completely reject any use of violence. The principal unionist parties (UUP, DUP), it is argued,have operated in the “grey area” between violent and non-violent politics, veering towards one pole or the other depending on the wider political context. In particular, it will be suggested that unionists tend towards “more direct” methods of political action when they fear - often with good reason - that their position within the Union is becoming undermined. When these fears are heightened the room for unionist political elites to contemplate accommodation with nationalists is constrained.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Research Area: Politics and international studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Social Science (until November 2012)
Depositing User: Susan Miles
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2012 15:12
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2012 15:12
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/23570

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