Identity, legitimacy, political violence, Northern Ireland.
Victims’ organisations have become part of the of the political landscape in Northern Ireland, both in terms of political leverage of their members and in some instances, due to the partisan nature of a number of their organisations (Brewer, 2003; 2010; Manketelow, 2007; Smyth, 2007). Despite considerable interest in issues related to definition and recategorization of victimhood, post-conflict (e.g., Shnabel, Halabi, & Noor, 2013), researchers have paid less attention to the role of victims’ groups, and in particular their representatives, in managing the perimeters of inclusion in the victim category and the needs of its members. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 participants working in victim support services, using thematic decomposition - an analytic technique that combines discursive approaches with thematic analysis (e.g, Stenner, 1993). The analysis revealed that representatives of different victims’ groups have different understandings on who is legitimately entitled to inclusion within the victim category. However, there is also potential for convergence and consensus on category definition, which could provide a starting point for the use of collective victimhood as a conflict transformation resource in this context.