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The micro-mobilization into the Provisional IRA, an armed struggle for recognition?

Lorenzo Bosi
Scuola Normale Superiore
Lorenzo Bosi
Scuola Normale Superiore
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Abstract

In this paper I will look to analyze the micro-mobilization into the Provisional IRA, between 1969 and 1972, by separating the individual motives (at the micro level) from the purposes of the armed group (at the meso level). Building on my empirically grounded research (discourse analysis of interview data; content analysis of historical records; and systematic consultation of secondary sources), I will try to argue that the majority micro-mobilization choice of joining the PIRA, was not justified as a mere reproduction of an ideological alignment to the traditional Republican aim of achieving Irish reunification, but as part of a struggle for recognition of a community that stemmed from a perceived sense of second-class citizenship shared by the majority of new volunteers and the larger constituency. Joining armed activism was therefore the enactment of an identity for achieving a political voice. New volunteers after 1969 fused the need to reclaim a sense of dignity, honour, and pride for the Northern Ireland nationalist community to a wider political objective, that of Irish reunification. I will place this work within an approach that speaks the language of social movements and contentious politics.