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Communicating Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding: How does storytelling challenge the meta-conflict in Northern Ireland?

Pickering, Jamie (2020) Communicating Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding: How does storytelling challenge the meta-conflict in Northern Ireland? PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Research into the way that peacebuilding and transitional justice contribute to or challenge existing discourses in affected regions demonstrates a fragile relationship, whereby interventions may exacerbate existing cleavages in divided societies. Storytelling includes a range of approaches that allow people to express and listen to stories related to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. This can take various forms; it may involve community led oral history projects, intergroup talking circles, or exhibitions where artwork or objects are used to tell the story of the conflict’s victims. Building on theoretical frameworks presented in both transitional justice and peacebuilding literature, this thesis is primarily concerned with issues related to post-conflict narratives. In Northern Ireland this is most notable in what is referred to as the meta-conflict; the conflict about the conflict itself, which persists today. In global peacebuilding and transitional justice efforts, the existence of this tension can result in initiatives that pointedly avoid questions around the causes and conduct of the conflict itself. I addressed this uneasy relationship through semi-structured interviews with storytelling experts and facilitators, to present a rich account of the methods of grassroots peace work in Northern Ireland. In addition to an account of local experts from across the spectrum of storytelling projects this thesis presents an alternative analytical framework, by considering the extent to which the meta-conflict is challenged by these projects. It is argued that storytelling projects challenge the meta-conflict in the process of story-gathering due to a commitment to core principles shared by storytelling facilitators, but that there is a far more varied approach to story-sharing, due to the difficulties of contextualisation and political or economic barriers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jamie Pickering
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2020 08:23
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2020 08:23
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29406

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