Devolution and the politics of development in Northern Ireland

Brendan Murtagh, Peter Shirlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The reintroduction of devolution in Northern Ireland is widely interpreted as the working out of the Belfast Agreement (1998) which aimed to embed political consensus in shared institutions of the state. However, such analysis tends to be limited with regard to wider political economy readings of the devolution project and historic struggles to find an appropriate institutional fix to manage different
forms of crisis. Peace and stability have, it is argued, permitted Northern Ireland's reentry to global markets and circuits of capital with new governance structures being assembled to reconfigure `post- conflict' economic space. We argue that the onset of devolution has promoted a mix between ethnosectarian resource competition and a constantly expanding neoliberal model of governance.
Devolved neoliberal structures that sustain social polarisation may perpetuate strategies of resistance that could cut across and challenge ethnosectarian politics and deepening social segregation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironment and Planning C
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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