History, Security, and Peace: A Comparison of Sectarian Conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East

Students: Ahmed Hamed and Noah Spicer
Mentor: Sean Kay (OWU Department of Politics and Government)

“The Troubles,” a violent conflict that began in Northern Ireland in 1968 and lasted until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, saw high levels of violence and terrorism on both sides—Protestants and Catholics—of the socio-political conflict. While major issues of violence were addressed by the Good Friday Agreement, many key ontological issues remain very much alive and active, resulting in “peace walls” which separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Northern Ireland. The impediments to peace stem not just from these issues of violence, but also from the minimal attention paid to ontological security in peace negotiations: the security of oneself, one’s group, and one’s identity. In considering ontological security, the question becomes how one solves these issues when validating one side seems to disenfranchise the other. In this regard, both the historical and present day Northern Ireland become lenses within which to view the current conflict in the Palestinian Territories. This project explores these ideas through various interviews and meetings that took place in Northern Ireland during January 2019 with the assistance of a Theory-to-Practice Grant. During our time in Northern Ireland we met with former paramilitaries, Catholic and Protestant clergy, politicians, and organizations dedicated to peace-building. While there is a shared history, the same cannot be said for their individual experiences. Since 1948, there have been multiple failed efforts to end conflict in Palestine and Israel from many state and non-state actors. Very little effort has been made to address tough issues or even enforce prior peace agreements. Understanding how the theme of ontological security was/is affected by the history, politics, and the sociopolitical environment of Northern Ireland provides different insights into the harsh political climate of Palestine and Israel.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3880
E ddmarkwa@owu.edu

David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection