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Resisting Memory: The Politics of Memorialisation in Post-conflict Northern Ireland

Pinkerton, P. (2012). Resisting Memory: The Politics of Memorialisation in Post-conflict Northern Ireland. The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 14(1), pp. 131-152. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-856X.2011.00458.x


This article explores practices of memorialisation in post-conflict society, through the case study of the James McCurrie Robert Neill Memorial Garden, located in East Belfast, which has been vandalised on a number of occasions. It notes the similarities between these attacks and Jenny Edkins’ theorisation of resistance at the sites of state memory. In the context of Northern Ireland, however, such resistance serves only to replicate patterns of division, as they seek to re-assert competing historical claims obscured by the memorial. The article therefore turns to the work of Jacques Derrida in order to employ a deconstructive ‘double reading’ of the memorial, which avoids the trap of treating the past as something that can be instrumentally utilised in the present. This deconstructive reading is undertaken in order to suggest a form of resistance to memorialisation which does more than replicate patterns of division through essentialised versions of history.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Copyright Sage 2012
Publisher Keywords: Northern Ireland; post-conflict; memory; deconstruction
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
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