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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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Chapter 4 The political journey of Sinn Féin

Extract

Sinn Féin wants to lead the next government, our political ambitions go beyond the electoral success of the 1980s.1

The journey of provisional Sinn Féin from political activists, in the 1970s, to a mainstream constitutional party is an indicator of the scale of political change within Irish republicanism. This political journey can be tracked through their discourses, which grew in scale and complexity in parallel to the challenge they faced both within and outside the republican movement. Traditional republican discourses, which used republican history to legitimize their political philosophy, were supplemented with new colonized discourses. Colonized discourses allowed Sinn Féin to signal a pragmatic political approach to the traditional republican goal of a united Ireland. The research into republican discourse, which was outlined in Chapter Two, reveals a contrast between Sinn Féin’s core and colonized discourses and bring insights to the debate over whether political shifts were tactical responses to external conditions or a radical philosophical departure from the republican code.

During the period between 1969 and 1998, Sinn Féin discourses reveal phases of political development interspersed with political vacuums as IRA military operations started to impact the credibility of Sinn Féin, the political wing of provisional republicanism. In the last chapter the historical legacy of republicanism was explored using historical and justification discourses which clearly signal that republicans see themselves as a radical political movement with physical force employed where necessary to achieve a political outcome. This makes the...

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