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'The Troubles':Northern Ireland 1968-1998 - theme 6

The Hunger Strikes
 
Documents:
 
‘Death makes no difference’, The Economist, vol. 279, 2 May, pp. 13-14.
Holland, Mary (1981), ‘The Maze dance of death’, New Statesman, 7 August, p. 2.
Robinson, Michael, (1981), ‘The H-Block hunger strikers’, The Listener, vol. 106, 17, September, p. 292.
Robinson, Peter (1981), ‘Self-inflicted – an exposure of the H-Blocks issue’. Can be
Taylor, Peter, (1981) ‘The Provisionals and the hunger strike’, The Listener, vol. 106, 24 (September), pp 322-324.

See http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/images/posters/hstrike/index.html for examples of hunger strike and prisoners’ campaign posters.
 
Questions:

Why were there hunger strikes in the late 1970s and 1980s?
What demands did the prisoners make?
Were the strikes successful?
How did the British government react to the hunger strikes?
How were the hunger strikes reported in the media?
What impact did the hunger strikes have on the politics of Northern Ireland?
 
Reading:
 
Beresford, D., Ten Dead Men: the Story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike (London, 1987).
Campbell, Brian, Nor Meekly Serve My Time: the H-Block Struggle 1976-
1981 (London, 1994).
Coogan, T. P., On the Blanket: The H-Block Story (London, 1980).
 The Troubles, chapter 9.
Givant, Michael, ‘Understanding the Hunger Strike’, New Society (21 October 1982), pp. 120-122.
Mulcahy, A., ‘Claims-making and the construction of legitimacy: press coverage of the 1981 hunger strike’, Social Problems, vol. 42, 4, (November, 1995) 449-467.
O’Malley, P., Biting at the Grave: The Irish Hunger Strikes and the Politics of
Despair (Belfast, 1999). Chapters 1, 2, 15, 16.
Sweeny, George, ‘Irish hunger strikes and the cult of self sacrifice’, Journal
of Contemporary History, vol. 28, 3 (July, 1993), pp 421-437.
Wilkinson, P., ‘The Provisional I.R.A: an assessment in the wake of the 1981 hunger strike’, Government and Opposition, 17, 2, (1982), pp. 140-156.