S Kathleen Ireton
Political Apologies; post-conflict reconstruction; Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus.
My research focus is: "What can explain the choice of former anti-state paramilitary groups to apologize or not apologize following civil conflict?" Secondary aspects include: How do institutions, structures and cultural practices contribute to or prevent political apologies by former rebel groups? What explains the variation across cases represented in the presence of apology in Northern Ireland and South Africa, and the absence of apology in Cyprus?
Despite the growing occurrence of political apologies, there is a void in the literature on the impact and mechanisms that underlie them. My project is a comparative study of what facilitates or obstructs apologies by former rebel groups following civil conflict. It is less concerned with the effectiveness of apologies – as this is duly covered in the current apology literature – rather focusing on seeking out the structures, institutions and cultural traditions that existed or were in transition, which either made possible a political apology, or prevented it.
The results of my research will help to explain how former rebel groups are influenced to make positive actions of reconciliation and engage with the peace process following civil conflict. It will also highlight the conditions and the environment necessary for an apology to be forthcoming by focusing on seeking out the structures, institutions and cultural traditions that existed or were in transition which either made possible a political apology, or prevented it. Finally, my research will act as a basis to compare and analyze other post-conflict cases worldwide.
Dr. Neophytos Loizides; Dr. Keith Breen