Through a single lens? Understanding the Troubles of the past, present and future

James W. McAuley, Máire Braniff, Graham Spencer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter outlines how memories of past events are relayed in several ways, for example, through popular culture, the media, in demonstrations in the public sphere, political speeches and pamphlets, as well as in narratives, folk tales, stories and popular histories and local history events. It is through such mechanisms that existing memories not only find a way of being transmitted across generations but also are often distorted and shaped to meet the present needs, political concerns and purposes of a particular group. Here, they tend to rely on a pre-given and ‘common-sense’ narrative, to ensure coherence and commitment among group members. Thus, perceptions of the individual, the self, others and collectives are created through struggles with identity and belonging, both of which are used to support a selective and reconstructed past. Finally, the chapter discusses the various contributions to the volume and how, albeit from different perspectives, the contributors raise important questions about why certain individuals and memories hold attention and are commemorated, while others do not and are forgotten.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTroubles of the past?
Subtitle of host publicationHistory, identity and collective memory in Northern Ireland
EditorsJames W. McAuley, Máire Braniff, Graham Spencer
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781526154217
ISBN (Print)9781526154194
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2023

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