• “The Irish Conflict” and the Experiences of Female ex Combatants In the Irish Republican Army: Power, Resistance and Subjectivity

      Wahidin, Azrini; Powell, Jason; Nottingham Trent University; University of Chester (Emerald, 2017-09-01)
      Purpose: The fundamental purpose of this article is to critically explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Irish Conflict, colloquially know as ‘The Troubles’ and outline key moments of resistance for female political prisoners during their time at Armagh jail. The paper will situate the analysis within a Foucauldian framework drawing on theoretical tools for understanding power, resistance and subjectivity to contextualise and capture rich narratives and experiences. What makes a Foucauldian analysis of former female combatants of the Conflict so inspiring, is how the animation and location of problems of knowledge as ‘pieces’ of the larger contest between The State, institutions of power and its penal subjects (ex female combatants as prisoners). The paper has demonstrated that the body exists through and in culture, the product of signs and meanings, of discourse and practices. Design/methodology/approach: This is primarily qualitative methodology underpinned by Foucauldian theory. There were 28 women and 20 men interviewed in the course of this research came from across Ireland, some came from cities and others came from rural areas. Some had spent time in prisons in the UK and others served time in the Republic of Ireland or in the North of Ireland. Many prisoners experienced being on the run and all experienced levels of brutality at the hands of the State. Ethical approval was granted from the Queens University Research Committee. Findings: This paper only examines the experiences of female ex-combatants and their narratives of imprisonment. What this article clearly shows through the narratives of the women is the gendered nature of imprisonment and the role of power, resilience and resistance whilst in prison in Northern Ireland. The voices in this paper disturb and interrupt the silence surrounding the experiences of women political prisoners, who are a hidden population, whilst in prison. Research limitations/implications: In terms of research impact, this qualitative research is on the first of its kind to explore both the experiential and discursive narratives of female ex-combatants of the Irish Conflict. The impact and reach of the research illustrates how confinement revealed rich theoretical insights, drawing from Foucauldian theory, to examine the dialectical interplay between power and the subjective mobilisation of resistance practices of ex-combatants in prison in Northern Ireland. The wider point of prison policy and practice not meeting basic human rights or enhancing the quality of life of such prisoners reveals some of the dystopian features of current prison policy and lack of gender sensitivity to female combatants. Practical implications: It is by prioritising the voices of the women combatants in this article that it not only enables their re-positioning at the centre of the struggle, but also moves away methodologically from the more typical sole emphasis on structural conditions and political processes. Instead, prioritising the voices of the women combatants places the production of subjectivities and agencies at the centre, and explores their dialectical relationship to objective conditions and practical constraints. Originality/value: This article is one of the first to explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Northern Irish conflict with specific reference to their experience of imprisonment. The aim of this significant article is to situate our critical analysis grounded in Foucauldian theory drawing on theoretical tools of power, resistance and subjectivity in order to make sense of women's experiences of conflict and imprisonment in Ireland. It is suggested that power and resistance need to be re-appropriated in order to examine such unique gendered experiences that have been hidden in mainstream criminological accounts of the Irish Conflict.
    • Risk and Social Welfare

      Powell, Jason; Wahidin, Azrini; University of Liverpool; Nottingham Trent University (Nova Science Publishers, 2009-10-14)
      This book explores the relationship between risk and social welfare. Traditionally, need has been the major mechanism for allocating resources in public services, and social policy texts have addressed various state responses to social problems and the alleviation of need. However, in a period of state retrenchment and welfare restriction, rationing and targeting have become more intense. This book explores the extent to which, as a result, discourses of risk have replaced ‘need’ as a key principle of social welfare rationing and provision. It begins with an contextual overview of contemporary theories on risk and goes on to critically examine the relevance of risk to social policy and social welfare developments. This is achieved by drawing on recent social policy and case examples from aging, social welfare, social work, health, crime and criminal justice, medicine, and human security. It is hoped that the book will be of particular use to students, practitioners and policy makers.
    • Understanding old age and victimisation: a critical exploration

      Powell, Jason; Wahidin, Azrini; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University (Emerald, 2008-06-14)
      The purpose of paper is to shine light on the under‐theorised relationship between old age and victmisation. In classical criminological studies, the relationship between “age”, victimisation and crime has been dominated by analysis of younger people's experiences. This paper aims to address this knowledge deficit by exploring older people's experiences by linking it to the social construction of vulnerability.
    • Understanding risk and old age in western society

      Powell, Jason; Wahidin, Azrini; Zinn, Jens; University of Chester; Kent University; Kent University (Emerald, 2007-01-05)
      The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of “risk” in relation to old age. Part of this reflexive response to understanding risk and old age is the importance of recognising self‐subjective dimensions of trust, biographical knowledge and resources.