The Road Not Taken
: 'Triple Transformation' towards Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland

  • Juneseo Hwang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Sustainable peace, in contrast to orthodox approaches to peacebuilding, moves beyond conflict management to conflict transformation through its focus on social reconciliation and the promotion of welfare in post-conflict societies. Parallel to this, environmental peacebuilding has received greater attention in promoting environmental cooperation between divided communities as a way to producing a shared identity and building a sustainable society that is resilient against environmental degradation. However, the intersection of those two concepts has not been fully explored, although their contribution to pluralising the meanings of sustainable peace as socio-ecological sustainability deserves significant attention. To narrow this gap, this thesis develops an interdisciplinary approach to ‘sustainable peace’ that promotes reconciliation between divided communities as well as between human communities and nature. The concept is tested and applied by the case study of Northern Ireland, where the post-conflict peace has been shaped by the ‘triple transition’, from the Troubles to elite-driven peace as conflict settlement, to a neoliberal economy, and to ecological unsustainability. Large-scale illegal dumping in the Mobuoy site in Derry was the case study used to demonstrate how and in what ways the post-conflict governance and policy system in Northern Ireland have been blind to ecological harms, crime, and ecological injustices, imposed on local communities and nature and non-human beings. The case study demonstrated that rather than being recognised as integral part of sustainable peace, the environment has been a ‘forgotten victim’ both during the Troubles and the post-Agreement period in Northern Ireland. As opposed to the ‘triple transition’, a model of ‘triple transformation’ is proposed as a pathway for sustainable peace that promotes freedom as non-domination and ecological sustainability. The ‘triple transformation’ model is based on a premise that environmental cooperation between divided communities can contribute to regenerating peaceful intercommunity relations and the sustainable human–nature relationship by ending the human domination of nature and non-human beings. Thus, it is argued that although the Troubles were not primarily caused or significantly influenced by environmental and resource issues, ecological sustainability should be recognised as equally vital as social reconciliation to promote a sustainable peace in Northern Ireland.

Date of AwardDec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorJohn Barry (Supervisor), John Karamichas (Supervisor) & Cathal McCall (Supervisor)


  • Northern Ireland
  • Environmental Crime
  • Ecological Justice
  • Mobuoy Illegal Dump
  • Green Republicanism
  • Green Criminology
  • Triple Transformation
  • Sustainable Peace
  • Environmental Peacebuilding

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