by Cynthia Irvin
University of Minnesota Press, 1999
Cloth: 978-0-8166-3114-8 | Paper: 978-0-8166-3115-5
Library of Congress Classification DA959.I75 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.540941509045


A comparative analysis of two militant nationalist groups.

Why do some militant nationalists turn to electoral politics while others resist-and even seek to destroy-that arena? Cynthia L. Irvin examines two cases of electoral interventions by nationalist organizations engaged in violent political competition: in Northern Ireland and in the Basque provinces of Spain. Based on her findings, she offers insights into the circumstances that lead such groups to abandon violence in favor of institutional political struggle.

Using fieldwork done in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country, Irvin develops a model linking the internal dynamics of Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna (the electoral arm of the militant Basque separatists) to changes in their external environments. In this unusual comparative analysis, she draws on interviews with more than 100 Sinn Fein and Herri Batasuna activists and on a unique survey of 140 Herri Batasuna activists. This approach moves Irvin’s work beyond previous analyses, which have relied on either descriptive and historical accounts or formal models of insurgent violence. This detailed account has broad implications for the study of social movements and ethnic identity, providing a valuable new perspective into the strategic interactions and often conflict-ridden relationship between social movements and political parties. ISBN 0-8166-3114-X Cloth £00.00 $49.95xxISBN 0-8166-3115-8 Paper £00.00 $19.95x304 Pages 26 Tables 5 7/8 x 9 MaySocial Movements, Protest, and Contention Series, volume 9Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press