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Book launch on the hill

We had a great time at the launch of Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland at Parliament Buildings (Stormont, where the Northern Ireland Assembly meets) on Thursday, March 8. We enjoyed a mix of academics, community workers, civil servants, clergy, politicians, ex-combatants, and friends. It had the feel of public sociology!

After time to mingle and eat sandwiches, Mr. Sammy Douglas MLA called our attention to the front of the room for comments and offered some kind remarks of his own. Mr. Douglas has been deeply involved in conflict transformation and community development for many years, so I have been deeply grateful for his interest in this research and book project. Mr. Jonathan Bell MLA, junior minister in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, spoke on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive and shared his appreciation for “contributions that unionists and loyalists have made to securing a peaceful future for Northern Ireland.”

Prof. John Brewer of Aberdeen University and the current President of the British Sociological Association offered his positive assessment of the book’s contributions. Prof. Brewer held up evangelical leadership as one example of an important dimension of unionist and loyalist conflict transformation that is represented in the book, though I would add that there are other sources, including Prof. Brewer’s latest book (co-authored with Dr. Gareth Higgins and Dr. Francis Teeney; Oxford University Press) that address that topic with a closer focus, for anyone who is interested.
I claimed a couple of minutes at the lectern to say thanks for all the support that made this project possible. However, somehow, I failed to thank Oxford University Press and the event’s ministerial co-sponsors, Mr. Mark H Durkan and Ms. Paula Bradley, errors I correct here! 

We also had a wonderful launch on Monday, March 12 at No Alibis Bookstore, and I will post about that soon, once some pictures are available.

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Book, blog, and website launches

Book cover

As always, its a real pleasure to be back in Northern Ireland on sabbatical. I am especially thankful to be here this spring to celebrate the launch of my book, Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland (Oxford University Press). It is particularly rewarding to be among friends, colleagues, and so many people who have supported the research for this project over many years.

I’ve never used the word “launch” so many times in my life, but I can announce that, in addition to this blog, a new website for the book has been launched at http://ulctni.swarthmore.edu, and thanks to the support of Oxford University Press, No Alibis Bookstore, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Swarthmore College, the book itself will be launched on Monday, 12th March 2012, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at No AlibisBookstore83 Botanic Avenue, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

No Alibis

RSVPs are welcomed at http://bit.ly/noalibislaunch

The book will be offered at a special price at this event and refreshments will be served.

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