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Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland$
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Lee A. Smithey

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395877.001.0001

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Heritage, Memory, and Identity Work

Heritage, Memory, and Identity Work

(p.152) 6 Heritage, Memory, and Identity Work
Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland

Lee A. Smithey

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the potentials for cultural traditions or heritage work to contribute to conflict transformation in Northern Ireland. The construction of memory and identity are closely related and must be considered in any assessment of collective identity change. The Orange Order, bands, and amateur historical and cultural organizations, among others, have developed programs that focus on histories of Protestant experience including origin myths, migration, industry, military battles, and political struggles. Such programs constitute a form of single-identity work that runs risks of generating division and prejudices. However, they can also build confidence and provide grounds for cross-community dialogue and the development of more diverse, sophisticated, and shared historical narratives and identities. Interview data reveal instances of reframing Protestant, unionist, and loyalist collective memory that counter zero-sum mentalities.

Keywords:   collective memory, conflict transformation, cultural traditions, Northern Ireland, collective identity, community relations, single identity

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