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A Suitable Place to Remember? Derelict Magdalen Laundries as Possible Sites of Conscience in Contemporary Ireland

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It is less than a decade since the Irish government published the McAleese Report, which accepted the state’s role in facilitating abuse in Catholic Church-run Magdalen Laundries. At the time the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny tearfully apologizing for the state’s involvement, alongside promising redress for survivors. Although much has been achieved since that time, one aspect that has not been resolved is how we remember and memorialize that past. Of the 10 Magdalen Laundries that operated in postindependence Ireland, seven have been demolished or substantially redeveloped and three are currently in various degrees of dereliction. This article considers the potential for extant Magdalen Laundries to become sites of conscience. It will explore this potential through the lens of temporality, materiality, and spatiality and will ultimately argue for the need to explore scalar power relations if Magdalen Laundries are to truly reflect past injustices as well as become meaningful places in the contemporary.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpace and Culture
Volume25
Issue2
Pages (from-to)266-281
Number of pages16
ISSN1206-3312
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

    Research areas

  • Catholic religion, institutions, Ireland, Magdalen Laundries, redevelopment, redress, transitional justice

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