FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2012
Contact: Lee Smithey
Telephone: 028 90 763 623
Mobile: 07549 085422
NEW BOOK ON UNIONISTS, LOYALISTS, AND CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION
TO LAUNCH AT PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS AND INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE
Mr. Sammy Douglas MLA, Mr. Mark H Durkan MLA, and Ms. Paula Bradley MLA join author Dr. Lee Smithey, an American sociologist, in launching his new Oxford University Press book, Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in a reception on 8th March at Parliament Buildings. The event is open to the Press.
Lee Smithey is Associate Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee (Belfast’s sister city), he first came to Northern Ireland twenty years ago as a volunteer at Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle. In 2000, he married a woman from Belfast, whom he met while volunteering again at Greenhill YMCA and conducting research on parading disputes for his Ph.D. thesis.
In a year of important centenaries, Smithey’s book examines how unionists and loyalists contribute to an important and challenging cultural process of conflict transformation. Managing parades, downsizing bonfires, and redesigning murals parallel a rethinking of unionist and loyalist identity and diminish obstacles to greater political and civic cooperation with nationalists and republicans. According to Smithey, “Important peacebuilding takes place in voluntary organizations that have considered themselves staunch defenders of collective interests and identity.”
The book launch at Stormont will take place in the Long Gallery of Parliament Buildings at 6:00 p.m. on 8th March 2012. Professor John D. Brewer, President of the British Sociological Association and Sixth-Century Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen, will offer comments on the book’s significance. A second launch, at which the book will be available for purchase at a reduced price, will be held at No Alibis Bookstore at 83 Botanic Avenue 5:30-7:00 p.m. on 12th March 2012. The launch will follow a lecture by the author on the same day in Room 1 at the Institute of Irish Studies of Queen’s University at 1:00 p.m. The author will speak again at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church at 7:00 p.m. on 25th March 2012.
The book’s website with additional information can be found at http://ulctni.swarthmore.edu