The popular perception usually centres on such things as gang warfare, tribal disputes, or religious animosity or perhaps even an inclination for straight-forward mindless violence. As is so often the case, this turns out to be, if not completely misguided, at least a gross over-simplification of a complex human phenomenon.
One of the main aims of this essay will be to illustrate not just how popular myths as to the causes of the Troubles in Northern Ireland are misconceived, but also how some of the more serious attempts to understand the conflict have suffered from a limited appreciation of the multiple factors involved. In order to pursue this goal, it is first necessary to identify the main historical precursors that led to the conflict and the various strategies that were engaged by way of resolution. We will then be in a better position to assess the different theoretical frameworks that have suggested a way forward and to ascertain how they might be applied to the political reality of Northern Ireland from the perspective of religion and secularisation.
Even before England became a Protestant country, its brand of Catholicism was different to that of Ireland. ...Show more