Continuing peace amidst changing contexts : A Sinn Féin case study on institutional resilience

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsstudier (SS)

Abstract: The transitioning of armed actors into political parties following a peace accord is not a new phenomenon and the debate for how we can facilitate such a transition is well explored. A grey area of the debate, however, concerns transitioned actors’ long-term commitment to peace, as relapses are known to have occurred on many occasions. How are successful transitions sustained and what are the facilitating mechanisms? Through a case study of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, this thesis aims to contribute to the very limited debate on the facilitation of peace continuity of transitioned actors. Interviews were conducted in Belfast during the fall of 2018. The present-time contextual changes posed by the United Kingdom exiting the European union, which endangers the 1998 peace agreement that helped facilitate Sinn Féin’s transition, provides a good case for studying the institutional resilience to violent relapse of a transitioned actor. The findings show that Sinn Féin display strong levels of institutional resilience, which can help the institution to abstain from relapses into violence caused by contextual changes such as Brexit.

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