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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Memory Wars: Dubrovnik May 2017

1 Memory Wars is the theme of the twentieth annual Divided Societies course for PhD students and other postgrads in the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik this year. The course runs from 7-14 May 2017 and the fee is a modest 50 euro. There are regular direct flights from Dublin to Dubrovnik (for those traveling from Ireland)  and there is plenty of hostel accommodation in the city for those on a limited budget. Key speakers include Professor Siniša Malešević (UCD). Full details below.

IUC2During the Cold War the Inter-University Centre was a meeting place for scientists and scholars from east and west and its first director was the pioneering scholar of peace and conflict studies, Johan Galtung. After the violent break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s a group of academics came together to establish a course on divided societies at the IUC.

Dubrovnik_IUCThe IUC is just a few minutes walk from the spectacularly beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik. Game of Thrones fans will notice that the IUC is very close to a number of familiar ‘King’s Landing’ filming locations.

If you are interested in attending please contact the IUC (details below) but feel free to also email me at niall.odochartaigh[at] and let me know. I am a co-director of the course and will try to answer any queries you may have.

Don Frana Bulica 4, HR-20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Tel: + 385 20 413 626 / 627, Fax: + 385 20 413 628, E-mail: iuc(at)

Post/graduate Course: ‘Divided Societies XX: Memory Wars’
7 – 14 May 2017, Dubrovnik, Croatia

The legacy of violent conflict is at the forefront of contemporary politics in many divided societies where struggles over the past contribute to the regular renewal of tension. On its twentieth anniversary the Divided Societies course examines the memory wars that have become an increasingly important focus of contention in recent decades. It pays particular attention to the Balkans, Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine, three regions where conflict seemed to have been resolved by peace settlements in the early 1990s but where the past continues to contribute to crises in the present. Struggles over the past were somewhat neglected by the founders of the social sciences, concerned as they were to understand the rupture with the past in the modern era. But the growing reflexivity of the modern age was manifested in part in a search for historical foundations, and the proliferation of commemorative rituals. Since the 1980s there has been a rapid growth in academic analysis of the uses of the past and social memory. The growth of new technologies for information storage and retrieval has given added urgency and importance to the question. If modernity brought intensified reflection on the past, the information age is accompanied by a merging of past and present that helps to prolong the afterlife of conflicts. New technologies provide easy access to primary historical sources, facilitate the proliferation of commemorative discourses and help to keep the past constantly to the fore in contemporary debate. The effect is reinforced by new forensic technologies that allow prosecutions for decades-old actions and make it much more difficult to consign previous conflicts to a separate realm called ‘the past’.

The course examines memory as a resource for political mobilisation and as a source of power and legitimation. It analyses commemoration as a site for the temporal and spatial concentration of struggles over the past and discusses legal approaches to dealing with the past. It looks too at alternative historical mechanisms for dealing with the past.

We encourage the participation of students and scholars in the social sciences, law and humanities and other fields and disciplines studying social phenomena such as divisions, cleavages, conflicts, borders, ethnicity and diversity.
The course provides a rigorous interdisciplinary academic programme structured around lectures, workshops and conference-oriented presentations of scholarly research. Course participants will engage in active discussions on the theoretical, methodological and practical issues of research in divided societies. Graduate and postgraduate students’ presentations are also welcome. In addition, the course offers a personal inter-cultural experience of students and faculty from other contexts in the unforgettable setting of a city that was itself the target of a destructive conflict.

The course offers ECTS credits for PhD and MA students (3-5 ECTS).
Course website:
Course fee: 50 €
Participants in IUC programmes may obtain reduced rates in some Dubrovnik hotels. Please check

Saša Božić, University of Zadar, Croatia
Emilio Cocco, University of Teramo, Italy
Lea David, University of Haifa, Israel
Biljana Kašić, University of Zadar, Croatia
Simona Kuti, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb, Croatia
Thomas Leahy,  National University of Ireland Galway
Siniša Malešević, University College Dublin, Ireland
Niall Ó Dochartaigh, National University of Ireland Galway
Jürgen Pirker, University of Graz, Austria
Ronald Pohoryles, ICCR Foundation, Vienna, Austria
Joseph Ruane, University College Dublin, Ireland
Jennifer Todd, University College Dublin, Ireland
Michal Vašečka, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Daphne Winland, York University, Toronto, Canada
Werner Wintersteiner, Klagenfurt University, Austria
Mitja Žagar, Institute for Ethnic Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Viera Žúborová,  University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Trnava, Slovakia

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Brexit and the North: letter to the Irish Times

A letter in the Irish Times on 5 November 2016 in which I compared Brexit and a possible United Ireland.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time and emotion: the hunger strike as protest tactic

September 14 @ 1:00 pm2:00 pm

Location: CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway Galway Ireland

Speaker(s): Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh

Affiliation: The Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security Research Cluster

Organised by: Whitaker Institute

This paper analyses the political dynamics of the 1980 hunger strike by Irish Republican prisoners – the precursor to the hunger strike of 1981 in which ten men died – focusing on temporal dimensions of negotiations aimed at ending the protests. It draws on extensive interviews with key figures, including intermediaries, British government officials and Republican leaders, as well as extensive documentation from both official and private papers.

Contrary to the existing literature on hunger strikes which strongly emphasises culture, tradition and emotion, this paper argues that the hunger strike is closely connected to the logics of modernity. The hunger strike is a particularly concentrated and intense deployment of time pressure in the pursuit of political goals. The central defining characteristic of the hunger strike is that it provides a way for weak actors to set a deadline when dealing with complex bureaucracies that derive much of their power from deferral and delay.

The paper analyses the temporal dimensions to the hunger strike tactic, focusing especially on the way in which bargaining power and bargaining moves are intensely concentrated in the final hours. It examines the intertwined temporalities of three crucial aspects of the negotiation process: information, communication and biological processes. The paper argues that this analytical approach can be deployed in the analysis of the relationship between time and power in many other forms of protest and suggests a number of avenues for further inquiry into the temporal dimensions of protest.

This seminar is one of a series of seminars in the Whitaker Ideas Forum seminar series.  Dr Ó Dochartaigh will be representing the Conflict, Humanitarianism and Security Research Cluster.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming talks and events 2016/17

10 September 2016: ‘Territoriality and Political Violence’ (with Gary Hussey). ECPR General Conference, Prague 7-10 Sept.

14 September 2016: ‘Time and Emotion: the Hunger Strike as Protest Tactic’. Whitaker Institute Ideas Forum, NUI Galway.

7 October 2016: Co-organiser of ‘ The implications of Brexit for Ireland’s borders: A Policy Forum’, PSAI Annual Conference, Belfast. Lead organiser: Dr Katy Hayward, QUB.

8 October 2016: ‘Why the IRA ended its campaign: a strategic-relational analysis’. PSAI Annual Conference, Belfast 7-9 Oct.

13 October 2016: ‘Bloody Sunday: Niall Ó Dochartaigh in Conversation with Eamonn McCann’. Conference on Irish Society, History & Culture: 100 years after 1916, EUI and SNS, Florence 12-14 Oct.

20 October 2016: ‘Citizenship in Northern Ireland since 1920, Enfranchising Ireland?’ Conference on Identity, Citizenship and State, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

7-9 December 2016: Paper in panel on ‘Covert control: Underground groups and their social environment’.  Workshop on Violence and Control in Civil Wars: Violent State-Making. Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS)/ Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung 7-9 Dec.

April 2017 (dates to be confirmed) Symposium at City University of New York Graduate School.

7-14 May 2017: Co-organiser of ‘Memory Wars’ 20th Divided Societies Course, Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik. Lead organiser: Prof Sasa Bozic, University of Zadar



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Irish Hunger Strike 1980: the offer of civilian-style clothing

prison issue clothing model from prem 19 0503On 23 October 1980, shortly before a hunger strike by  Irish Republican prisoners was due to begin, the British government announced that prisoners in Northern Ireland would be allowed to wear ‘prison issue civilian clothing’ instead of prison uniform. Republican prisoners had distilled their campaign for political status into five demands that included the right to wear their own clothes. Intermediaries had been advising the British government that if prisoners were allowed their own clothes and got concessions on the issue of prison work a hunger strike could be averted. The British government seem to have come very close in October 1980 to conceding on the clothing issue but at the final stage the government balked. Fearful that prison officers would refuse to implement the changes, and facing strong direct pressure against compromise from unionist politicians, they came up with the idea of civilian-style clothing, a measure aimed at demonstrating flexibility.

prison issue clothing choices from prem 19 0503The prisoners rejected this move, as expected. The British government emphasized that civilian-style clothing meant the end of the prison uniform but the images here, taken from a British government pamphlet*  give a good sense of the limitations of this move. The first picture shows the prison uniform while the second shows the range of civilian-style clothing to be made available.More important than the substance of the clothing was the question of whether its acceptance would be seen as a defeat for the prisoners. The limited range of clothing and the extent of its uniformity maintained the basic principle that the prison authorities would decide what prisoners wore and made it more likely that it would be seen by prisoners as a defeat.

The 1980 hunger strike subsequently collapsed but a second hunger strike began in 1981. In July 1981, after four prisoners had died on hunger strike, and facing huge political pressure, the British government secretly told the IRA leadership they would concede on the clothing issue. By that stage however it was not enough to end the hunger strike and the conflict in Northern Ireland had been stoked up so much that it would continue for another decade and a half.

  • ‘Day to day life in Northern Ireland prisons’. In PREM 19/503, UK National Archives


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment