Negotiating Defence in Belfast and Derry: Violence Studies Oxford, Fri 9 February

I’m giving a talk at 5pm on Fri 9 February in a panel on ‘Do We Need Defending? The History, Tactics and Modern Relevance of Antifascist, Antiracist and Antisectarian Resistance in the United Kingdom’ with Nigel Copsey (Teesside) Akwugo Emejulu (Warwick) and Stephen Ashe (Manchester). Organised by Adam Brodie and Violence Studies Oxford. Details below of the panel and my paper.

‘This panel will seek to investigate the rationales that have led many groups, throughout the four nations of the UK, to forcefully counter actions by racists, far right organisations and the police. By comparing different mobilisations across time and space, this panel will seek to answer the question of why people deem such actions to be necessary, and whether such actions can indeed make us safer.’

‘Negotiating Defence in Belfast and Derry’, Niall Ó Dochartaigh, NUI Galway

Broad-based local Defence Associations and Committees were set up in nationalist areas of Derry and Belfast as violence surrounding the civil rights campaign escalated in Northern Ireland in 1969. They characterized their role as defending local neighborhoods against both loyalists and the unionist-dominated state security forces. They were broad coalitions, encompassing conservative Catholics and moderates as well as leftists and Republicans who sought to abolish the Northern Ireland state. This paper analyses the negotiated character of their defensive role and the extent to which it involved both tacit and explicit compromises and agreements with state forces. It outlines how these local defence associations engaged with the police force, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and how they subsequently cooperated and co-existed with the British Armed forces deployed in those neighborhoods in August 1969. Examining the factors that led to a breakdown in these relationships over the following 18 months it uses this case to explore the negotiated character of local defence associations. It seeks to explain how even groups that seek to overthrow the state can develop strong cooperative relationships with state forces.

Details here:


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Laughter in a time of violence: cartoonists and the Northern Ireland conflict

I’m giving a Public talk at 4pm Fri 27 Oct in the Black Gate Cultural Centre, Francis St Galway as part of the first ever Galway Cartoon Festival on ‘Laughter in a time of violence: cartoonists and the Northern Ireland conflict’. Some details below.

Cartoonists took all sides and none during the thirty year conflict over the political status of Northern Ireland that broke out in 1969 and in which more then 3,600 people were killed. This talk analyses some of the most striking and insightful cartoons that emerged from the conflict, drawing out the recurring themes and arguments that cartoonists sought to advance through strong and sometimes shocking imagery. Cartoonists viewed the conflict from very different political perspectives and sought to advance conflicting arguments. The talk considers the extent to which cartoonists reinforced and validated enmities and hostile caricatures or sought to challenge them. It pays special attention to those cartoonists who sought to unsettle mainstream assumptions and question the rhetoric of dominant forces. It concludes by looking at contemporary portrayals of the violent past and the continuing arguments over how to deal with the legacy of conflict.

Niall Ó Dochartaigh is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland Galway. He has published extensively on the Northern Ireland conflict and on mediation, peace negotiations and territoriality. Recent publications include the co-edited books Political Violence in Context (ECPR Press 2015) and Dynamics of Political Change in Ireland: Making and Breaking a Divided Island (Routledge 2017). He is currently completing a monograph on the negotiating relationship between the British state and the IRA during the Northern Ireland conflict. He is a founding convener of the Standing Group on Political Violence of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and the Specialist Group on Peace and Conflict of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI). Further information at

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Political Violence Panels at ECPR 2017 – timetable and full details

S46 P082 Dealing with the Past I: How States Deal with the Memory and Legacies of Political Violence
Thursday 09:00 – 10:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P083 Dealing with the Past II: Memories of Political Violence
Thursday 11:00 – 12:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P137 Former Combatants, De-Radicalisation and the State – co-sponsored with S56
Thursday 15:50 – 17:30
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P142 From Rebellion to the Emergence of Quasi-states. Alternative Modes of Governance among Jihadi-Salafist Groups
Friday 09:00 – 10:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P312 Rebel Governance, Alternative Orders, and Contested Sovereignty
Friday 11:00 – 12:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P253 Paramilitaries, Militias, and Self-defense Groups: The Fluid Boundary between State and non-state Armed Actors
Friday 14:00 – 15:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P242 Negotiations, Peace Processes, and Violence
Friday 17:40 – 19:20
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P298 Post-conflict Transitions, Legitimacy and the Effects of Violence
Saturday 09:00 – 10:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P229 Militant Mobilisation and the State
Saturday 11:00 – 12:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205
S46 P313 Recent Trends in European Counterterrorism: A Comparative Perspective
Saturday 14:00 – 15:40
Building: BL16 Georg Morgenstiernes hus Room: GM 205


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Daniel Sokatch of NIF speaking at NUI Galway Thurs 18 May: ‘#50isEnough: Israeli Civil Society Confronts the Occupation’

DanielSokatch-Jun2015-160x160Looking forward to talking to Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund at NUI Galway this Thursday about Israeli Civil Society and the Occupation. All are welcome.

#50isEnough: Israeli Civil Society Confronts the Occupation
Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund
Date/Time: 1.00pm-2.30pm Thursday 18 May
The Bridge, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway

The Occupation is now 50 years old and the current political leadership in Israel seems intent on silencing Israelis who want to see it end. Indeed, the debate over the Occupation – and the damage it is doing to both Palestinian society and Israeli democracy – has been removed from the center of public discourse in Israel.  But no problem that is swept under the rug will ever be solved, and Israeli activists are pushing back. We will examine the roots of the conflict and of the Occupation, discuss the impact it has had on both Palestinians and Israelis, and survey some of the strategies Israeli civil society organizations are implementing to challenge the status quo during these challenging times.

Daniel J. Sokatch is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund (NIF), the leading organization committed to equality and democracy for all Israelis. Before joining NIF, Sokatch served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Prior to his tenure at Federation, he served as the founding Executive Director of the California-based Progressive Jewish Alliance (now known as Bend the Arc).
In recognition of his leadership, Sokatch has been named to the Forward newspaper’s “Forward 50,” an annual list of the fifty leading Jewish decision-makers and opinion-shapers, in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and 2010.
Daniel has an MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and a BA from Brandeis University. He is married with two daughters and resides in San Francisco.

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Recalling Brendan Duddy’s decision to deposit his papers in NUI Galway

The sad news today of the death of intermediary Brendan Duddy prompted me to revisit a short article I wrote a few years ago about his decision to donate his papers to the National University of Ireland Galway. It recalls for me his exceptional energy, stamina and determination, qualities that were essential to his work as an intermediary.
brendan archive

The image shows sample passes that British representatives gave to the Provisionals at one of their regular secret meetings in Duddy’s house in Derry in 1975

NUI Galway \ RESEARCH MATTERS Issue 5 \ Summer 2013
“In 1997 Brendan Duddy phoned me at my workplace in the University of Ulster’s International Conflict Research Centre in Derry. He told me he was impressed with a
book I had just published on the escalation of the Troubles in Derry and asked me to call to his house. I had no idea who he was. Almost four hours later, during which time he spoke to me in urgent and impassioned tones, I still had no idea who he was. He seemed to have some kind of intense personal investment in the peace process whose nature was not at all clear to me and something was holding him back from talking openly. The encounter stuck with me but shortly afterwards I got a job as a lecturer in politics in Galway and left Derry for good. There was no opportunity to inquire further. When I began in 2003 to do some research on Bloody Sunday, an old friend and NUI Galway graduate, Garbhan Downey, suggested I contact Brendan Duddy. He told me cryptically that Duddy ‘had a story to tell’. When I phoned Duddy he agreed immediately to meet me again.
“The tension between his desire to tell his story and the secrecy and silence that he had
been committed to for a lifetime shaped our conversations. His almost physical resistance to speaking about topics on which he had maintained secrecy for so long co-existed with an energy and a capacity for exposition that was inexhaustible.
“Our conversations would continue well into the evening, in the book-lined office, in the kitchen as we waited for the kettle to boil, in the hallway. In a way I was reliving the experiences of the British and Republican interlocuters with whom he would speak for hours on end. Recalling his conversations with the senior MI6 agents he dealt with he told me ‘…in one four hour dialogue with anybody you want to mention, Michael [Oatley], Rob [Browning], any of them, there would be half a sentence that mattered and you trained yourself to listen for that half sentence . . .and it was that half sentence which made the difference, either way.’
“It was two years before he allowed me to start recording these interviews and even longer before he began to talk about sensitive issues, such as the hunger strikes.
“And then, during a conversation in his office in 2008, he paused to lean over and slide
back one of the cabinet doors that were built in below the bookshelves. He explained to me for the first time that throughout the twenty years of his work as an intermediary he had held on to documents. His archive included diaries of the 1975 talks, of the 1981 hunger strike negotiations and of the 1993 contacts. He asked me what I thought he should do with them and I spoke in general terms about the possibilities for lodging them in an archive. Around a year later he told me that he would like to deposit the papers in Galway. The librarian John Cox, the University Foundation and Louis de Paor at the Centre for Irish Studies provided resources for cataloguing the papers. Archivists Kieran Hoare and Vera Orschel set about the task, building on the extensive work already done by Duddy’s son-in-law Eamonn Downey. In 2011 the university celebrated the donation of the papers with a public launch for the Duddy family and a symposium on Negotiating Peace.
“Duddy’s role was that of an active facilitator and mediator. His papers provide an insight into the relationship between the British state and the Provisional Republican movement from the unique perspective of an individual located at the grinding intersection between the two. They will be a key resource for scholars of mediation and conflict for many years to come.”
The Duddy papers are open to researchers.
Dr Ó Dochartaigh has published extensively on this topic and several of his articles are freely available online:
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Northern Ireland and Israel-Palestine: CUNY GC 19 April

Organised by the Queens College Irish Studies Program and the Political Science Department at the CUNY Graduate Center

Sacred Boundaries: The Search for Peace in Northern Ireland and Israel-Palestine


A Discussion with Niall Ó Dochartaigh and
Daniel Sokatch, moderated by Peter Beinart

Wednesday, April 19
3:30-5:30 p.m.
The CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (34th Street)
Room C-197

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Political Violence and the State at ECPR 2017: panels and papers

Oslo_2017Our section on Political Violence at the ECPR general conference in Oslo this year will be the largest yet, with eleven panels and more than fifty papers from academics from all over Europe, North America and beyond (full details below). The Standing Group, which I currently co-convene with my colleague Stefan Malthaner at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, now has almost 200 members. This year’s section includes panels on deradicalisation and ex-combatants, legacies of violence, governance among Jihadi-Salafist Groups, pro-state paramilitaries, repression, peace processes, rebel governance and European counter-terrorism policies, among others.

Dealing with the Past I: How States Deal with the Legacies of Political Violence

  1. Colombian contested Transitional Truths: the Case of the Historical Commission of the Conflict and its Victims. Maria Teresa Pinto Ocampo. University of Bristol
  2. Memory Beyond Borders: Dealing with the Legacy of the Northern Ireland Conflict in the Irish Republic, 1969 to 2017. Thomas Leahy, NUI Galway.
  3. The Trouble with Truth: Silence, Denial and the Liberal Democratic State. Cheryl Lawther. Queen’s University Belfast
  4. Troubled Pasts and the Troubling Present. Biljana Kasic, University of Zadar , Croatia.
  5. The Shock of Civil War in Finland and Ireland: the case for cultural sociology. Bill Kissane, The London School of Economics & Political Science

Former Combatants, De-Radicalisation and the State

  1. Counter-radicalization efforts and radical left-libertarian movements. Magnus Wennerhag. Södertörn University
  2. De-Radicalisation, Social Change and Former Combatants. Gordon Clubb, U. of Leeds
  3. Exit and rehabilitation of former extremists: how projects and interventions differ. Tore Bjørgo. Universitetet i Oslo
  4. Narratives and Networks of Former Combatants. Jerome Drevon. University of Oxford
  5. Efforts to manage and follow-up foreign fighter’s returning to their homelands. Tina Wilchen Christensen, C-REX, University of Oslo. Hanna Munden, C-REX/ Dept. pf psychology, University of Oslo

From rebellion to the emergence of quasi-states. Alternative modes of governance among Jihadi-Salafist Groups

  1. Caliphate for the 21st Century – The Role of Violence in the Construction of Daesh’s “Islamic State”. Miriam M. Müller. Hamburg Institute for Social Research
  2. Education under the Islamic State in Mosul. Mathilde Becker Aarseth. Universitetet i Oslo
  3. Governance and Mobilized Islam in North-Syria: 2012-2016. Teije Hidde Donker. Universitetet i Bergen
  4. Syria and terrorism: a challenge from within. Alice Martini. Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
  5. Disentangling Legitimacy: Everyday Experiences in and with al-Shabaab’s Insurgency State. Jutta Bakonyi. Durham University

Paramilitaries, Militias, and self-defense groups: The fluid boundary between state and non-state armed actors

  1. Colonel Villebois-Mareuil’s Corps (1898-1900): Political violence, paramilitarism and case-thinking between the state’s local and global levels. Romain Bonnet. Università degli studi di Padova
  2. State Violence and the principal agent approach. Bill Kissane. The London School of Economics & Political Science
  3. The impact of non-state violent actors on democracy: self-defense groups, paramilitary and organized crime in Mexico. Katharina Wagner. Würzburg Julius-Maximilians University
  4. The non-state authorization of armed force: When is it right to hire private military and security companies? Jelle Leunis Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  5. Normative and Non-normative Resistance: An Experimental Examination of Jewish Settlers in the West Bank . Sivan Hirsch-Hoefler IDC-Herzliya, Israel

Recent Trends in European Counterterrorism: A Comparative Perspective

  1. Beyond Counter-terrorism: The Societal Project of Counter-radicalisation. Francesco Ragazzi. Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
  2. Counter-Terror by Proxy: The Spanish State’s Illicit War with ETA. Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet. Université Saint-Louis Brussels
  3. From Crime to Suspicion: The Radicalisation-Dispositif in Belgium. Fabienne Brion. Université catholique de Louvain
  4. Low-key Leviathan: Counterterrorism, Invisibility and the Disposal Assemblage. Manni Crone. Danish Institute for International Studies
  5. The Gatekeepers of the Political Order: Intelligence, Counterterrorism and Subversion in France. Laurent Bonelli. Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Dealing with the past II: memories of political violence

  1. Memories, silences and representations of the Tuareg rebellions and their settlements in Mali and Niger Adib Bencherif University of Ottawa
  2. Death and Security: Memory and Mortality at the Bombsite. Charlotte Heath Kelly. University of Warwick
  3. Conflicting representations of Political Violence in Italy, 1969 and After Sabrina Nardin University of Arizona
  4. “Places of Conscience” between Surplus of Remembrance and Surplus of Forgetting in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina Alma Jeftic International University of Sarajevo
  5. Inscribing collective trauma in stone: Brussels terror attacks, one year later Paper Presenter: Ana Milosevic University of Leuven

Negotiations, peace processes, and violence

  1. A technique, not a policy? Negotiations in internal armed conflicts under the shadow of terrorism Carolin Goerzig Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies – MPIfG
  2. A strategic-interactional approach to the cessation of violence: why the IRA ended its campaign Niall O Dochartaigh , NUI Galway
  3. The Peace that Wasn’t: The spectra of Violence during negotiations between the Turkish State and Kurdish mobilizations, 2013-15 Kumru Toktamis Pratt Institute
  4. Misplaced Faith: Reconsidering the Impact of Religion on Negotiated Settlements Jason Klocek University of California, Berkeley
  5. The Failure of Post-Conflict Peace Regime in Mozambique: The Conflict Resurgence in Times of Multi-Party Politics (1994-2013) Manuel Barroso-Sevillano Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Rebel governance, alternative orders, and contested sovereignty

  1. Vicious Saints: How Gangs in Trinidad and Tobago Rule Janina Pawelz GIGA German Institute of Global And Area Studies
  2. Routinized Insurgent Space: A Comparative Analysis of the Spatial Characteristics of Constituenc y Establishment and Maintenance in the PKK and the M-19. Francis O Connor Aarhus Universitet
  3. Fragmenting States and Bare Life: Understanding contested sovereignty in the post Arab Uprisings Middle East Simon Mabon University of Lancaster
  4. Quasi-States and Quasi-Stateness: the Spatial Aspects of State Failure Fedor Popov Moscow State University
  5. The Strategy of Secession, Ryan Griffiths University of Sydney

State responses, repression, and political violence

  1. Synergies in Suffering: Police Violence and Poverty in shaping Maoist violence in India. Jos Bartman University of Amsterdam
  2. Deploying the Past: ‘Shaming’, Narrative Contestation and British Involvement in Torture Frank Foley Kings College London
  3. Learning to Repress: Authoritarian Learning in the Arab Uprisings Quinn Mecham Brigham Young University
  4. Spoilers and Stovepipes: Problems with Intelligence management in Northern Ireland 1969-1976. Tony Craig Staffordshire University
  5. The Theory and Practice of Emancipatory Counterterrorism Sondre Lindahl University of Otago

Mobilisation and the state– images of the state and the effects of repression

  1. Radical Left and the State in Iran and Turkey in the 1970s Sevil Cakir-Kilincoglu Leiden University Institute for Area Studies
  2. Looking for the ‘Heart of the State’: Conceptualizations of Power and Clandestine Political Violence in the Italian Seventies Giorgio Del Vecchio Freie Universität Berlin
  3. ‘Impotence is the magic hood of cowardice’: Developments and Implications of Militant Feminism in Germany between 1975 and 1995 Florian Edelmann Aberystwyth University
  4. Dynamics of Interpretation and Radicalisation: Studying the Intra-Movement Variance in the Anarchist Wave of Clandestine Groups in Greece Sotirios Karampampas University of Sheffield
  5. The Mistreatment of My People: Victimization-by-proxy and Behavioral Intentions to Commit Violence among Muslims in Denmark. Milan Obaidi European University Institute

Post-conflict transitions, legitimacy and the effects of violence

  1. The Subtle Social Consequence of Civil Wars: Psychological distress and the transformation of social networks in Sri Lanka. Matthias Fatke Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
  2. Dealing with past political violence in Côte d’Ivoire: a successful post-crisis transition? Sophie Rosenberg University of Cambridge
  3. Ajax and the Pentagon: Shaping the Domestic Legacies of Violence Abroad. Alison Bond University of California, Berkeley
  4. The Effects of Traditional Legitimacy: Peace and Conflict in Swaziland and Lesotho Fenja Møller Aarhus Universitet
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