Seminar with Professor Kristin Bakke (University College London)
Title: "Legacies of Wartime Order: Vigilantism and the State in Northern Ireland" (co-authored with Kit Rickard)
A growing body of research explores how non-state actors create informal institutions to maintain social order during conflict, yet there is little systematic knowledge of the legacy and persistence of wartime orders in post-conflict societies. The remnants of informal wartime institutions form a key challenge for governments in post-conflict societies in their attempts to re-establish themselves as legitimate authorities. So-called 'punishment attacks' in Northern Ireland offer insights into the relationship between informal justice systems and state legitimacy in post-conflict societies. We investigate the forms of social control left behind by paramilitary organisations. Indeed, despite the Good Friday Agreement's success in maintaining peace, many communities in Northern Ireland remain afflicted by violence associated with dissident paramilitary groups. The police was a key actor during the Troubles. Too divisive to be included in the peace negotiations, the police force has since undergone a number of reforms in order to re-establish itself as a legitimate part of the state apparatus, representative of both communities. However, these efforts continue to be challenged by groups that impose social control through violent attacks in their communities. The paper combines historical analysis, interviews with relevant stakeholders, systematic local-level data on in-group violence and other indicators of social control, as well as survey data on people's perceptions of both informal and formal authorities to understand how and to what extent wartime orders continue to shape social control in fringes of post-war society.