This article introduces this volume by constructing a model for analysing political discourse as an instrument of conflict and peace, drawing on evidence from the Northern Ireland case. It identifies three processes, or stages, in a peace process in which political discourse can play a unique and crucial role: (i) the construction of a (conceptual) framework within which negotiations can take place, (ii) the facilitation of agreement between moderate and extreme positions, and (iii) the forging of common ground. The motivating thesis of this research is that discourse analysis is a vital resource for deepening our knowledge of why, how and when violence can erupt and peace can be built.

Author Bio(s)

Katy Hayward is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen‟s University Belfast. Dr Hayward has previously held post-doctoral fellowships at University College Dublin and was a visiting fellow at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She has published and taught in the fields of Irish politics, EU studies, nationalism and conflict transformation. She co-edited (with Muiris MacCárthaigh) Recycling the State: The politics of adaptation in Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2007) and is the author of Irish Nationalism and European Integration (Manchester University Press, winter 2008). Email: k.hayward@qub.ac.uk.


conflict and peace, “Humespeak” IRA prisoners, Northern Ireland, political discourse, Sinn Féin

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