Transitional Justice and the Politics of Inscription: Memory, Space and Narrative in Northern Ireland, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transitional Justice and the Politics of Inscription

Memory, Space and Narrative in Northern Ireland, 1st Edition

By Joseph Robinson


244 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367191740
pub: 2019-01-08
Hardback: 9781138291515
pub: 2017-08-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315265308
pub: 2017-08-04
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Taking Northern Ireland as its primary case study, this book applies the burgeoning literature in memory studies to the primary question of transitional justice: how shall societies and individuals reckon with a traumatic past? Joseph Robinson argues that without understanding how memory shapes, moulds, and frames narratives of the past in the minds of communities and individuals, theorists and practitioners may not be able to fully appreciate the complex, emotive realities of transitional political landscapes. Drawing on interviews with what the author terms "memory curators," coupled with a robust analysis of secondary literature from a range of transitional cases, the book analyses how the bodies of the dead, the injured, and the traumatised are written into - or written out of - transitional justice. The author argues that scholars cannot appreciate the dynamism of transitional memory-space unless they first engage with the often silenced or marginalised voices whose memories remain trapped behind the antagonistic politics of fear and division. Ultimately challenging the imperative of national reconciliation, the author argues for a politics of public memory that incubates at multiple nodes of social production and can facilitate a vibrant, democratic debate over the ways in which a traumatic past can or should be remembered.

Table of Contents

Introduction: ‘The Voice of Sanity is Getting Hoarse:’ Historical Narratives in Northern Ireland

1. Where, Why, & How ‘Will We Remember Them?:’ The Bloomfield Report Revisited

2. Social Memory

3. State of Exception

4. Hierarchy of Victims

5. Fugitive Roads & Social Hauntings

6. The Politics of Inscription

7. It Should Never be Lost

8. We are All, Potentially, Homines Sacri

About the Author

Joseph S. Robinson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geography at Maynooth University, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. He is an Irish Research Council Fellow and a Research Fellow at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Glencree, County Wicklow, Ireland. The research and first drafts of this book were written when he was a Researcher with The Junction, a community relations and peacebuilding non-profit located in the city of Derry, Northern Ireland.

About the Series

Transitional Justice

The study of transitional justice has emerged as one of the most diverse and intellectual exciting developments in the social sciences in the last two decades. From its origins in human rights activism and comparative political science the field is increasingly characterised by its geographic and disciplinary breadth. Routledge’s Transitional Justice series publishes innovative work across a range of disciplines working on transitional justice related topics: including law, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, political science, development studies and international relations.

The series includes titles which address larger theoretical questions on transitional justice, including the intersection of notions such as justice, truth, accountability, impunity and the construction of transitional justice knowledge. It also contains critical and theoretically informed empirical work on the workings of institutions such as truth commissions, community based reconciliation, victim empowerment, ex-combatant demobilisation, or regional discussions on practical programmes in particular areas. Finally, the series covers the legal aspects of transitional justice; although, avoiding dry, overly technical or dull legal texts, it specialises in a style of legal scholarship that reflects the energy and vitality of this exciting field.

For further details on the series please contact the Series Editor.

Kieran McEvoy

Professor of Law and Transitional Justice

School of Law

Queens University Belfast


44 (0) 2890973873

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Remedies & Damages
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology