Conflict Analysis and Northern Ireland: History, Politics & Culture - PO664

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2020 to 2021.


This course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the recent political history of Northern Ireland. The course will be accessible to all students, whether they are new to the topic or not. The main objective of the course is to provide students with a greater understanding of one of the most complex regions within the United Kingdom. Students who take the course will learn about the central issues that underpinned community conflict, why sectarian conflict broke out in the region in the late 1960s, why it continued for so long, and what political dynamics led to the ‘peace process’ of the 1990s. In addition to looking at the conventional historical and political development of Northern Ireland, the course will also focus on wider aspects of the society such as representations in Irish poetry, music and sport, and the way in which these have mirrored political and cultural relationships within the region.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

150 hours including 22 hours workshop (one 2-hour workshop per week); 128 study hours.

Method of assessment

50% coursework, (essay of 3,000 words 50%, 50% exam (2hr)

Indicative reading

Cochrane, F. (2013) Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace
(The course will be structured around this new book and purchase is recommended)

Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN) Background on the Northern Ireland Conflict
Online at:

Darby, J. (1995) ‘Conflict in Northern Ireland: A Background Essay’
Online at:

Dixon, P. (2001) Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace, Palgrave
Farrell, M. (1980) Northern Ireland: The Orange State, Pluto Press
FitzDuff, M & L. O’Hagan (2009) The Northern Ireland Troubles: INCORE Background Paper
Online at:

Fox, C. (1997) The Making of a Minority,
Online at:

Hancock, L. (1998) Northern Ireland: Troubles Brewing
Online at:

McGarry, J. & B. O’Leary (1995) Explaining Northern Ireland: Broken Images, Blackwell.
O’Leary, B. & J. McGarry (1993) The Politics of Antagonism: Understanding Northern Ireland, Athlone Press.
Tonge, J (2006) Northern Ireland, Polity.
Tonge, J. (1998) Northern Ireland: Conflict and Change, Prentice Hall.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the historical development and recent political history of Northern Ireland;
- Understand the connections between events in Northern Ireland from 1921-2013 and wider theoretical principles behind conflict management and conflict transformation;
- Evaluate the central issues that underpinned community conflict in Northern Ireland and how British policy evolved in the region;
- Apply the empirical detail of the Northern Ireland case to wider conceptual debates relating to the roles of direct and indirect actors in conflict, the role of spoilers in emerging peace processes and the advantages and limits of consociational democracy in political settlements;
- Understand the linkages between politics, history and culture within a politically divided society;
- Appreciate and understand the complex patterns of sectarianism in Northern Ireland and how relationships between nationalists and unionists have been affected by the peace process over the last 20 years.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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