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The Nature of the British-Irish Agreement
It is an academic, personal and political honour to give the ninth John Whyte memorial lecture. [*] It is an academic honour because John Whyte was the most dispassionate analyst of our conflict—and so is a hard act to follow. Interpreting Northern Ireland still conveys his marvellous gifts of clarity and concision in exposition. It is a personal honour because, together with Ernest Gellner, he was the mentor who had the greatest influence on me as a young lecturer. Lastly, it is a political honour. John Whyte worried whether social scientific research on Northern Ireland was worthwhile. Nevertheless, he contributed extensively to public deliberation in defiance of his occasional despair on this matter. He would have been pleased at the extent to which social science, including political science, can be discerned in the making and nature of the Agreement.
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