Active Remembering, Selective Forgetting, and Collective Identity: The Case of Bloody Sunday
Conway, Brian (2003) Active Remembering, Selective Forgetting, and Collective Identity: The Case of Bloody Sunday. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 3 (4).
Bloody Sunday. Derry, Northern Ireland, January 30, 1972, in which 13 Catholic civilians were shot dead by the British army has evoked two contesting memories - an 'official' or elite memory and a folk memory among the Nationalist community that, it is argued, has been omitted from dominant memory discourses. The official memory of this life- destroying historical event is encoded in the report of the Widgery Tribunal established by the British government in the aftermath of bloody Sunday. A second popular memory has emerged in resistance to this that carries the remembrances of the victims'families and of the wider Nationalist community in Northern Ireland. I explore the mediums through which this unofficial memory has been established and maintained, the meanings associated with it, and how and why these have changed over time. Traditionally, it has been invested with a negative meaning associated with sectarianism, colonialism, and victimization. In recent times, the folk memory has been framed within a broader global context with a focus on its healing and reconciliation potential, which, together with institutional statements such as the Dowling Street Declaration and the Good Friday Agreement, points to the emergence of a more inclusivist understanding of collective identity-formation in Northern Ireland.
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