Unions and unionisms are important because they offer an alternative form of politics to that of nation-states and nationalisms. They allow a wider variety of relations between a plurality of peoples, opening prospects of resolving territorial politics. But unionisms, as state- or polity-centred perspectives, are also typically power-centred, often using the resources of the polity to resist assertion by their members, thereby turning democratic challenges into secessionist ones.
Unionisms in Times of Change: Brexit, Britain and the Balkans focusses on these two faces of unionisms: the flexible alternative to the nation state, and the assertor of central power. This book is particularly timely at a period when the unions of the British Isles and of Europe have been disrupted by the process of British exit from the European Union, creating new dilemmas and options for unionisms in Northern Ireland. The chapters in this volume map the conceptual structure of unionisms; the ways unions are defined and defended in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Balkans and Moldova; the ways they deal with challenge, conflict and change; the prospects of negotiation; the ways unionisms move from flexibility and accommodation to repression and back; and the opportunities for agreement and conflict resolution.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Irish Political Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Unionisms in times of change: Brexit, Britain, Northern Ireland and the Balkans
Jennifer Todd and Dawn Walsh
1. Unionisms and the challenges of change
2. Choosing between unions? Unionist opinion and the challenge of brexit
3. The DUP and the European Union: from contestation to conformance and back again …
Mary C. Murphy and Jonathan Evershed
4. Same but different? The Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party compared
Jonathan Tonge, Máire Braniff, Thomas Hennessey, James W. McAuley and Sophie A. Whiting
5. Public attitudes to different possible models of a United Ireland: evidence from a citizens’ assembly in Northern Ireland
John Garry, Brendan O’Leary, John Coakley, James Pow and Lisa Whitten
6. The fragility of unions: the United Kingdom and Moldova
7. Imposed unions and imperfect states: the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in comparative perspective
8. Symbolic right-sizing and Balkan nationalisms: the Macedonia name dispute and the Prespa Agreement
9. Unionisms in the UK’s Brexit crisis
Jennifer Todd is Research Director of the Institute for British-Irish Studies at University College Dublin. She researches on ethnicity, identity, and conflict. Her recent publications include Identity Change after Conflict (Springer 2018) and with John Coakley Negotiating Settlement in Northern Ireland (1969-2019) (Oxford 2020).
Dawn Walsh is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations and Director of the Institute for British-Irish Studies at University College Dublin. Her work has been published in several academic journals and she is the author of two books.