Trust and Traditions in Transitions

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On New Year’s Eve 2013, months of talks on ‘Dealing with the past’, ‘Flags’ and ‘Parades’ ended without agreement on how to move towards a reconciliation of positions in Northern Ireland.
The failure of the talks illustrates the importance of culture and (mis)trust in divided societies, where politics often pivot around whose culture shall be official and whose subordinated, whose history shall be remembered and whose forgotten (Jordan and Weedon 1995). These struggles are particularly intense in times of transition where traditions, power relations and frames of relevant remembrance are reconfigured.
Historically, parading traditions have been important cultural carriers of identity in Northern Ireland. (Jarman 1997). Correspondingly, the marching season has been an arena for politico-cultural struggles and resistance, indexing relations of trust between communities, between society and the state and more recently, trust in the peace process.
As the contest over meaning is always determined by the context of articulation, this paper examines the role of parades in the current ‘post-conflict’ phase of the peace process. Using theories of cultural and collective memory (Assman 2011, Olick 2011, Bodnar 1994), politics of affect (Hogget and Thompson) and data from republican and loyalist parades in North Belfast it is argued that a) there is fear of memory collapse in particular communities on the margins of the peace process with a conscious doubling of efforts to articulate the hidden recesses of memory in the current transition. And b) that patterns of ‘competitive commemoration’ in parades should be understood in relation to the increasing dissonance between vernacular languages of conflict and the official post-conflict discourses in Northern Ireland.

Original languageEnglish
Publication year2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventMatchPoints: On Trust - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 22 May 201424 May 2014

Conference

ConferenceMatchPoints
LocationAarhus University
CountryDenmark
CityAarhus
Period22/05/201424/05/2014

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