Doing justice to the troubles: Imaginary reconciliations and restorative memory in post-agreement Northern Ireland

Leszek Drong


This article addresses avenues for reconciliation and the persistence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the interconnected contexts of politics, remembrance culture and public discourse during the peace process, with particular attention focused on the operations of transitional justice and restorative memory (a category I derive from restorative justice and restorative truth). I argue that the peace process realities in Northern Ireland actively invite a mode of social and political evasion of the past by consigning recent history to cultural discourses, to be explored and chronicled mostly by works of fiction, rather than weighed on the scales of justice in the first place. Post-Troubles fiction offers carefully selected patterns, scripts and templates of the past (preserved in ‘restorative memory’) which, rather unsurprisingly, tend to promote a mood of reconciliation over the idea of reckoning and retribution. Thereby fiction as such (exemplified here by David Park’s The Truth Commissioner, Five Minutes of Heaven directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and Lucy Caldwell’s All the Beggars Riding) becomes a key player in the contemporary politics of memory.  

Słowa kluczowe: politics of memory, reconciliation, restorative memory, fiction, the Troubles, Good Friday Agreement, transitional justice, Truth Commission, truth recovery

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