Date of Graduation

Fall 12-16-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies


International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George Gmelch


This paper is a qualitative historical analysis of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Over a period of approximately thirty years, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland dominated the headlines of newspapers in both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Despite this violent history, Northern Ireland has enjoyed relative peace and stability since the passage of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. This paper aims to better understand why and how Northern Ireland endured a generation of brutal sectarian violence and emerged into a new era of peace and mutual understanding. In doing so, this paper incorporates theories from peace and conflict studies and uses them to frame traditional historical analyses of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. The ultimate goal of this paper is to integrate traditional history and contemporary theories in peace and conflict studies in order to explain the transformation of the conflict in Northern Ireland, thereby providing a basis to better grasp its current sociopolitical reality.