Political commemoration and peacebuilding in ethno-national settings: the risk and utility of partisan memory

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Abstract: This article examines partisan political commemorations and their impact on peacebuilding in ethno-national settings. It considers how commemoration can assume highly partisan, ideological frames working to exacerbate conflict but also argues that partisan forms of commemoration may be used in a more pragmatic, adaptive fashion that may underwrite peaceful politics. Whilst arguing this, the article notes that partisan commemoration can remain as a drag on peacebuilding, and so posits ways of counter- balancing this negative aspect, drawing on a case study examination of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ in Northern Ireland. Proposals to facilitate adaptive commemoration, and foster activities that counter balance more partisan commemoration, are considered.

Keywords: Conflict; Peace Processes; Peacebuilding; Commemoration; Dealing with the Past

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