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CWSS Workshop: Intimidation and Non-Lethal violence in Conflict

A Centre for the Study of War, State and Society seminar
Date28 March 2018
Time12:30 to 14:30
PlaceAmory B308

A workshop, chaired by Prof. Martin Thomas, with papers by Dr Brian Hughes (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick) and Dr Gemma Clark (Exeter).

This workshop brings together two colleagues researching Revolutionary Ireland to talk about uses of intimidation and non-lethal violence in conflict more widely.

Dr Brian Hughes lectures in the Department of History at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, having previously taught at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus and held postdoctoral fellowships at Maynooth University and Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of Defying the IRA? Intimidation, coercion, and communities during the Irish Revolution (Liverpool, 2016).

Dr Gemma Clark is lecturer in British and Irish History at Exeter, having previously held a postdoctoral fellowship in Irish Studies at UNSW Australia. She is author of Everyday Violence in the Irish Civil War (Cambridge, 2014) and other publications related to her current project, 'Arson in Ireland: Fire as Protest since c.1800'.


‘“More through fear than love”? Intimidation, coercion, and the perception of violence in revolutionary Ireland’

Brian Hughes’s paper will examine attempts by the Irish Republican Army to discourage, stifle, and punish dissent within local communities between c. 1920 and the ‘official’ outbreak of civil war in Ireland in June 1922. In particular, it will focus on the successes and failures of Irish Republican Army (IRA) demands for food, money, and shelter under threat and punishment. By doing so it will attempt to demonstrate, as Stathis Kalyvas does, that equating civilian behaviour with popular support underestimates the capacity of Irish civilians to ‘hedge’, to waver, to act out of self-interest; to be motivated by fear, or love, or neither.

Assuming a homogenous response to violence and intimidation is also problematic. Taking the alleged ‘exodus’ of Irish Protestants from the twenty-six southern counties as an example, the paper will conclude by suggesting that the range of civilian testimony available to historians of the conflict should allow us to further probe how ordinary people understood the violence that took place around them, and how they perceived threat and harm. This, it will be argued, is just as important as trying to understand what may or may not have actually happened.


‘“The right to live in my own country”: Intimidation and expulsion in the Irish Civil War’

Gemma Clark’s paper aims to reflect and expand on key conclusions from Everyday Violence in the Irish Civil War (Cambridge, 2014), which proves that threats against person and property, and attacks on homes/businesses/infrastructure, were much more pervasive than was interpersonal violence, during Ireland’s relatively contained – but nonetheless cruel – civil war of 1922–23. Specifically, this paper examines some of the intimidating acts (boycott, verbal and written warnings, animal maiming, land seizure, etc.) used to exert social, financial and psychological pressure on certain individuals and families in Munster (south-west Ireland), leading to their rejection by – even expulsion from – the local community.

Intended audienceAll welcome.
Registration informationNo registration required.
OrganizerDr Gemma Clark

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