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Verteidigung und Gewalt: Legitimierung von Terror in Nordirland und darüber hinaus

Nils Zurawski

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This article presents a social-anthropological perspective on the relationship of violence and the narrative of defence in conflict zones. This presented analysis is backed on fieldwork in Northern Ireland that focused on violence, ie. physical, graphic violence, and its function for the structures of collective identities. The article points to the interconnection of violence and a narrative of defence for legitimising terror. It recounts the process from being under attack to the counter-attack and active terrorism of one group against another. The analysis focuses on the fact that these stories are collecitve accounts of events and contain a structure that provides essential meaning for the integrity of a group and its identity. These narrative structures as such are not restrained to Northern Ireland alone, but can be found in many conflict areas and contexts around the world, some of which are comparatively examined here. In discussing these issues the text wants to contribute to the debate of conflict resolution in the way that it lays open violent structures, mostly hidden from such analysis.