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Warrior Talk

A study of war, peace and politics

Sally Watson

«Warrior talk is defined as language, terms and metaphors associated with war and violence used in political discourses or appropriated into everyday settings to influence people and situations.»

Warrior Talk is part of the human experience in conflict situations at global, national and organizational levels and while the scale of conflict may vary, the language of war is a potent dynamic and key inhibitor of sustainable peace. A case study of the Northern Ireland peace process has been used as a background for research into Sinn Féin political discourses in the period 1969-2019. The findings indicate that republican warrior talk has evolved over five decades but continues to play a role in Sinn Féin politics. The implications of this research are applicable to other forms of conflict and particularly whether there has been protracted or intermittent episodes of violence.

This book will appeal to a varied audience: students, researchers and readers interested in peace building whether international or local. The style of the book will demystify the field of political discourse analysis and provide tools and resources to enrich the reader’s experience.

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In 1998, I was awarded a Masters in Peace Studies by the Richardson Institute, at Lancaster University, the oldest peace and conflict research centre in the UK. I researched the Oslo Accords (1990/1991) and was fascinated by the work of Norwegian facilitators in brokering a peace settlement in the Middle East. I was intrigued by the behaviours of German and British soldiers on Christmas Day 1914 (the Christmas Day Truce) and decided to study this phenomenon in greater detail. During the year of study, my interests in the dynamics of global war and peace grew until a chance remark stopped me in my tracks. One of my fellow students from Sri Lanka asked me about the conflict in Northern Ireland. In that moment, I suddenly realized the magnitude of events in a part of the world, 188 nautical miles from Lancaster. A moment in time that changed my thinking, my career path and me.

My Masters dissertation was focussed on the Good Friday Agreement and a study of the unionist, nationalist and republican discourses generated during 1997–1998. In 2002, I published a PhD on Sinn Fein political transformation from 1969 to 2002 and developed a discourse model to support further research into republican discourses. Between 2003 and 2019, the research work continued and the content of each book chapter is supported by extracts from the material collated during those years. The focus on republican discourses was a deliberate choice to ensure a sound basis for the analysis...

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