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Photo of Isabel Bramsen.

Isabel Bramsen

Associate Senior Lecturer | Director Peace and Conflict Studies

Photo of Isabel Bramsen.

Agonistic interaction in practice : laughing, dissensus and hegemony in the Northern Ireland Assembly

Author

  • Isabel Bramsen

Summary, in English

The 1998 Agreement in Northern Ireland has often been portrayed as a textbook example of agonistic peace allowing parties to continue conflict in a political, adversarial manner post accord. Here, I investigate the institutional and dialogical reality of this claim by scrutinising agonistic aspects of interaction occurring in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Specifically, I analyse a video recording of the first sitting after the Assembly did not sit between 2017 and 2020. The debate provides a snapshot of the situation in Northern Ireland and gives insights into what agonistic interaction looks like in practice. The meeting reveals mutual acceptance of radically different identities and perceptions of the past as well as a jovial mode of interaction with elements of self-irony displaying an ability to hold identities and positions lightly. However, the room for counter-hegemonic discourses and passionate, intense contestation about difficult issues is very limited at the meeting. Rather, the Assembly shapes up as a theatre of opposition where Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party perform opposition while forming a new hegemony. Taking the opening debate as a point of departure, I discuss questions regarding inclusion, passionate debate and hegemony that the Northern Irish case poses for agonistic peace.

Department/s

  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year

2022

Language

English

Pages

1324-1342

Publication/Series

Third World Quarterly

Volume

43

Issue

6

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Topic

  • Political Science

Keywords

  • agonistic peace
  • dialogue
  • humour
  • identity
  • Northern Ireland
  • video data analysis

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 0143-6597