Utilises an extended theatrical metaphor to analyse politics
2. IN DEFENCE OF 'REAL' POLITICS
3. POLITICS AS THEATRE
4. 'A TRAGEDY BEYOND WORDS': INTERPRETING BRITISH POLICY TOWARDS NORTHERN IRELAND
5. WERE THE IRA DEFEATED?
6. THEATRICAL POLITICS AND POLITICAL SKILLS
7. THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT, 'DIRTY POLITICS' AND THE BELFAST AGREEMENT
8. DEFENDING THE POLITICAL MORALITY OF THE PEACE PROCESS
9. 'PEACE WITHIN THE REALMS OF THE POSSIBLE?' DAVID TRIMBLE, UNIONIST IDEOLOGY AND THEATRICAL POLITICS
10. ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE
11. CONCLUSION: INTERPRETING THE PEACE PROCESS AND THE FUTURE OF NORTHERN IRELAND
"Performing the Northern Ireland Peace Process offers a nuanced and stimulating analysis which goes beyond standard explanations by exploring the motives and means used by those who made peace in Northern Ireland." (Professor Timothy White, Xavier University, USA) "Paul Dixon has produced an impressive and challenging book. Dixon defends the Northern Ireland peace process as a carefully-crafted, drawn-out episode in realist, pragmatic politics. However, he pulls few punches in highlighting the moral deceptions which have kept the process in play. Provocatively, Dixon also challenges a wide range of academic interpretations of the processes and their associated political prescriptions. Thoughtful and well-researched throughout, Performing the Northern Ireland Peace Process is an essential read for anyone interested in conflict management." (Professor Jon Tonge, University of Liverpool)
"In this outstanding book, Dixon shows yet again the importance of the theatrical metaphor for Northern Ireland. More importantly still, he demonstrates that the adoption of a critically realist outlook actually enhances our capacity to think creatively about the political choices we face in international politics and the alternative policies and institutions we might construct." (Professor Adrian Little, The University of Melbourne)
This book is exceptional in defending the 'dirty politics' of the Northern Ireland peace process. Political actors in Britain, Ireland and the United States performed the peace process and used 'political skills', often including deception and hypocrisy, in order to wind down the conflict and achieve accommodation. These political skills, it is argued, are often morally justifiable even as they are popularly condemned. The Northern Ireland peace process has been highly successful in reducing violence and an accurate understanding of its politics is an important contribution to international debates about managing conflict.