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The burden of memory: Victims, storytelling and resistance in Northern Ireland

Rolston, Bill and Hackett, C. (2009) The burden of memory: Victims, storytelling and resistance in Northern Ireland. Memory Studies, 2 (3). p. 355. [Journal article]

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750698008337560

DOI: doi:10.1177/1750698008337560


The article examines the potential and limitations of storytelling for victims of political violence. It rejects the view that storytelling is unproblematic, a way for victims to ‘get things off their chest’. It examines a wide range of literature on storytelling and testimony, from the Holocaust through to contemporary transitional societies. In particular, attention is focused on the experience of victims and survivors telling their stories in formal settings such as truth commissions and trials in South Africa and the former Yugoslavia, as well as at unofficial storytelling processes in the North of Ireland. The authors look at the potential of storytelling as resistance to injustice and conclude that while unofficial processes of storytelling present opportunities for collective solidarity, the stories often go unacknowledged by the wider society. Conversely, they also conclude that, while official mechanisms of truth recovery can ensure wide legitimacy for the stories of victims, this is often at the cost of marginalising the storyteller and the story.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Ireland, memory, resistance, storytelling, truth recovery
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Transitional Justice Institute
ID Code:5989
Deposited By: Prof Bill Rolston
Deposited On:12 Jan 2010 12:46
Last Modified:23 Jun 2015 10:34

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