The Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Conflict

BookThe Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Conflict

The Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Conflict

2013

October 22nd, 2013

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This book examines memoir-writing by many of the key political actors in the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ (1969–1998), and argues that memoir has been a neglected dimension of the study of the legacies of the violent conflict. It investigates these sources in the context of ongoing disputes over how to interpret Northern Ireland’s recent past. A careful reading of these memoirs can provide insights into the lived experience and retrospective judgments of some of the main protagonists of the conflict. The period of relative peace rests upon an uneasy calm in Northern Ireland. Many people continue to inhabit contested ideological territories, and in their strategies for shaping the narrative ‘telling’ of the conflict, key individuals within the Protestant Unionist and Catholic Irish Nationalist communities can appear locked into exclusive and self-justifying discourses. In such circumstances, while some memoirists have been genuinely self-critical, many others have utilised a post-conflict language of societal reconciliation in order to mask a strategy that actually seeks to score rhetorical victories and to discomfort traditional enemies. Memoir-writing is only one dimension of the current ad hoc approach to ‘dealing with the past’ in Northern Ireland, but in the absence of any consensus regarding an overarching ‘truth and reconciliation’ process, this is likely to be the pattern for the foreseeable future. This study provides the first comprehensive analysis of a major resource for understanding the conflict.

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Author Information

Dr Stephen Hopkins is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Leicester.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Half-title2
Title page4
Copyright page5
Dedication6
Acknowledgements11
Contents8
Chapter 114
Chapter 230
Chapter 354
Chapter 475
Chapter 591
Chapter 6107
Chapter 7127
Chapter 8146
Chapter 9172
Chapter 10191
Chapter 11202
Notes and references207
Bibliography244
Index254