In the Introduction, I referred to the pressing need, in the post-Cold War context, to broaden the definitions and approaches of conflict management beyond the old power-based strategies of containment in order to take account of those more subjective, but no less potent, factors clustering around issues of identity and communal security. This study has in part tried to demonstrate that to ignore, or to under-represent, the perceptual layers which surround complex social conflict and to reduce the dispute to one of only objective issues, like territorial sovereignty, is to simplify matters in such a way as to curtail the possibilities of successful transformation. To do so would necessitate the dismissal of all the Northern Ireland evidence from Chapters 1, 3 and 6, which demonstrates both the importance of such issues in the minds of protagonists and the extensive attention being paid to addressing those issues.
KeywordsSocial Conflict Conflict Management Cultural Approach Northern IRELAND Political Dialogue
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