The Irish Republican Army
by James Dingley
October 2012, 242pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38703-6
$57, £43, 50€, A78
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38704-3
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The IRA is likely the world’s most efficient, long-lasting, and possibly even the most ruthless terrorist group. With a pedigree that is claimed to stretch back 800 years, the IRA’s “home turf” of Northern Ireland has been known as “terrorism’s laboratory,” and its core ideology and tactics have inspired many other groups. From what essential ideological roots did the IRA spring, and what has this organization evolved into today?

Authored by an individual with 30 years of experience studying terrorism as well as access to the most senior counter-terrorist army and police officers combating the IRA, this book provides the first complete analysis of the world's premier terrorist group to explain them in ideological as well as operational terms.

The IRA: The Irish Republican Army begins by examining the historical background to the development of the IRA, the group’s basic ideology, and its aims and objectives. The second part of the book concentrates on the IRA—specifically the Provisional IRA—as a contemporary phenomenon, explaining its organization, how it operates, who joins the IRA, and why.

The book explores how the IRA was formed from a Romantic reaction against modernity, and is an expression of a vehement rejection of the liberal, individualist, and scientific values of the Enlightenment. The IRA’s attachment to violence almost as an end in itself, its conflation of Catholicism with Irish-ness, its rejection of big-business for peasant-proprietor economics, and its disregard for individual rights in pursuit of group rights is explained in terms of the groups’ scholastic Catholicism foundation. For academic audiences in Irish studies, politics, sociology, history, and security and defense studies, as well as professional security forces and interested general readers with an interest in current affairs, this book supplies a wholly new perspective on both the IRA and terrorism in general.

James Dingley, PhD, is visiting research fellow at Queen's University, Belfast, UK; and chairman of the Francis Hutcheson Institute, also in Belfast. Previously he was head of the Business and Management Department at the University of Kurdistan-Hawler, Iraq; and former lecturer in political sociology and sociology of organizations at University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK. Dingley received his doctorate at the University of London and his master of philosophy at the University of Ulster. He has lectured on terrorism and political violence at Ulster and Kurdistan-Hawler and on nations and nationalism at Kurdistan-Hawler, been a NATO instructor on counter-terrorism, as well as visiting lecturer in military academies in the UK, Sweden, and Belgium. His published works include Nationalism, Social Theory and Durkheim; Combating Terrorism in Northern Ireland; and Terrorism and the Politics of Social Change: A Durkheimian Analysis.


"A comprehensive and authoritative examination of the IRA’s ideological and organizational origins. . . . The author . . . is a veteran analyst on terrorism and counterterrorism in Northern Ireland."—Perspectives on Terrorism, December 17, 2013

" What Dingley seeks to offer is an explanation of the movement, specifically the socio-political and philosophical basis from which it arose . . . [the book] provides the reader with a very strong contextual foundation. . . . Such is the detail contained within these chapters that one is left feeling far more informed about the operational workings of the PIRA almost to the point of suspicion!” —National Identities, August 16, 2017

"James Dingley’s . . . The IRA . . . should be of value to anyone interested in . . . Durkheimian analysis to modern social issues . . . anyone willing to study the Isle of Ireland as well as terrorism and violence in general. . . . Dingley’s work has accompanied me in my field-work encounters all around Northern Ireland’s conflictual loci and above all its ethno-religious enclaves.”—Dada Rivista di Antropologia Posdt-Globale, June 1, 2018

"Professor James Dingley’s brilliant writing on terrorism differs from most other writers in that he approaches the subject from a sociological perspective as opposed to the more usual Political Science one. He thereby shines new light on an amorphous subject that is both illuminating and helps explain why the Troubles went on for such a long time and indeed may never end. The detail, context and background are a true feat of research and reflects his extensive knowledge of the IRA. As someone who has taken Masters-level students to Northern Ireland for field studies, I found The IRA book an invaluable aid to preparing for the trips. Similarly, the students all valued Professor Dingley’s insights. Strongly recommended."—Lt Col (ret.) Charles Sulocki, Swedish Defence University

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