In July 1996, public disorder associated with parades in Northern Ireland amounted to a significant crisis for the state. The result was the creation of an independent commission, known as the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, to manage how parades take place. This dissertation is concerned with the governing strategies and tactics deployed by the Parades Commission since its inception in 1997. It is concerned with the practical means through which the attempt was made to constitute the spaces and politics of parading as an object of government. Michel Foucault's study of
governmentality, as well as the subsequent development of his work by other scholars, provides the overall approach to this thesis. I argue that in the mid-1990s, early attempts to repress, ban, and prohibit parading give way in important degrees to attempts to encourage, entice and direct the conduct of individuals and groups. The strategies, tactics, administrative procedures, and discourses deployed by the Commission aimed to capture and reorganize local symbolic politics and political relations in Northern Ireland in ways deemed conducive to peaceful parading. This study also concerns
itself with the challenges, problems and resistances faced by the Commission. In particular, it takes into account the ways in which the lack of political consensus and the history of political conflict in Northern Ireland has shaped the governing project, as well as the ways in which the attempt to govern a symbolic display challenged the processes and practices of government. This thesis ultimately shows how the Commission's attempts proved unsuccessful: as evident by the constant challenges faced by the body, the spaces and politics of parading are elusive and difficult to constitute;
the government of parades has required persistent experimentation which continues to present day.