Killing for Ireland: Escalation and De-escalation during the Troubles Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • McCarthy, Ryan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense
  • This paper seeks to answer the question “How do groups decide between a strategy of escalation versus de-escalation?” In order to address this question, the events of the Troubles, a period of conflict in Northern Ireland that began in late 1969 and ended in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, will be used as a case study. The question will be addressed with the development of two game theoretic models that will be used to analyze the behavior of the actors in the Troubles. These models will be constructed and applied to view the conflict in terms that lend significance and possibly support for the use of violence when considering the alternatives available to both sides. In light of the background from which the conflict surfaced, useful information will be gathered on why violence was ramped up rather than decreased in an effort to breed cooperation. In order to limit the amount of incidents analyzed to one manageable by the scope of this paper, I will focus on a twenty-year slice of the Troubles, from 1969 to 1989, encompassing roughly two-thirds of the conflict as a whole. As a theoretical tool, game theory will shed light on the attractiveness of certain actions and outcomes over others in situations where two or more groups are in conflict with one another.
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding: None
  • Sullivan, Patricia
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 79

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