The Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Conflict

The Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Conflict

by Stephen Hopkins


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This book examines memoir-writing by many of the key political actors in the Northern Irish Troubles (19691998), 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 Irelands 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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786940148
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents

1. The Study of Political Memoir and the Legacy of the Conflict in Northern Ireland
The Politics of Memoir: Establishing the Parameters of Study
The Construction and Narration of Exemplary Lives
The History of an Individual's Soul: Truth and Memory in Life-Writing
2. Provisional Republican Memoir-Writing
Becoming a Provo: Narratives of Belonging
Different Worlds of the Troubles: Locality and Internal Republican Politics
3. Departing the Republican Movement: Memoir-Writing and the Politics of Dissent
Explaining the Break: Dissent or Disavowal?
4. Loyalist Paramilitarism and the Politics of Memoir-Writing
Introduction: A New Phenomenon?
A Line in the Sand? Authorial Motivation and Loyalist Paramilitary Memoir
A Confusion of Voices: Author and Subject in Loyalist Life-Writing
An Enclosed World? Localism and Loyalist Memoir-Writing Loyalists, Life-Writing and Motivation: Exploitation or
5. Memoir-Writing and Moderation? Ulster Unionists Face the Troubles
Unionists and Reform: O'Neill and Narratives of Frustration
Reflections on Unionist Political Division: O'Neill and Faulkner
6 .Northern Nationalists and Memoir-Writing: The Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Troubles
Rejecting Republicanism?
A Paradigm Shift? Civil Rights and the Attitude to Unionism
The SDLP and the Troubles
7. A Case-Study of Memoir-Writing and the Elusive Search for a Political Settlement: The 1974 Power-Sharing Executive and
Hope and Hesitation
'A Government of All the Talents'
The Ulster Workers' Council Strike: 'A Nightmarish, Surreal Experience'
8. British Ministers and the Politics of Northern Ireland: Reading the Political Memoirs of Secretaries of State
The Experience of Northern Ireland: Marginal or Central?
Welcome to Belfast, Minister! Appointing the Secretary of State
The 'Loneliness of the Northern Ireland Secretary': Reflecting on Policy-Making as SOSNI
Working with the Northern Irish Parties
9. Journalists, the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' and the Politics of Memoir-Writing
My War Gone by, I Miss it so ...
'Blow-Ins' and Belfastmen
Forgive Us Our Press Passes: Political Space and Journalism
Confronting the Past: Distance and Denial
Telling the Story and Telling one's Story
Reflections on Reporting Political Violence
10. Victims and Memoir-Writing: Leaving the Troubles Behind?
Insiders and Outsiders: The 'Different Worlds' of the Troubles
Memoir-Writing and the Question of Timing
Victims and Perpetrators: Towards Understanding?
11. Chroniclers of the Conflict
Notes and references

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