By Peter Shirlow;Kieran McEvoy
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McEvoy (2001) and others (McKeown, 2001; Corcoran, 2006) have analysed the contours of that relationship between the incarcerated and their gaolers in considerable detail. For those less familiar with the history of political imprisonment associated with the conflict in Northern Ireland, this is a useful juncture at which to draw out some of the principal themes which characterised that history and to locate such themes within the broader international context of political imprisonment. , 1996; Freeman, 1999; Philips and McConnell, 2004).
Clearly, however, the prison authorities were willing to permit the filming of such discussion, whatever their ideological misgivings, because this underlined how pragmatic and well managed the prisons had become compared to ten years previously. Although it was sometimes characterised as outright capitulation to the power of the paramilitaries in the prisons (particularly by the Northern Ireland Prison Officers Association), such a perspective is an oversimplification of the managerialist model.
DEFINITIONS OF POLITICAL IMPRISONMENT Definitional questions concerning prisoners and former prisoners incarcerated as a result of the Northern Ireland conflict have long been highly contested. The practical and symbolic nature of the prison conditions in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain were represented as something of a microcosm of the broader ‘conflict about the conflict’ (McKeown, 2001; McEvoy, 2001; Corcoran, 21 Shirlow 01 intro 21 12/11/07 14:44:12 22 Beyond the Wire 2006).