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Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory

Transitions and Transformations


Edited By Marguerite Corporaal, Christopher Cusack and Ruud van den Beuken

Irish Studies and the Dynamics of Memory presents the latest research from Irish studies scholars across a variety of disciplines, including history, literature, theatre, photography and folklore, and generates new and challenging insights into the dynamics of cultural remembrance in Irish society. Featuring contributions by leading researchers in the field such as Guy Beiner, Graham Dawson and Emilie Pine, this collection demonstrates how the examination of Irish cultural legacies can illuminate our understanding of processes of identity formation, heritage policies, canonization, musealization and the transgenerational and transcultural inflections of the past. Investigating topics such as trauma, contested politics and commemorative practices, and exploring recent theoretical developments, the volume offers an interdisciplinary overview of the recent cross-fertilization between memory studies and Irish studies.
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6 Notes on Studying Public Policies of Memory: The Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and the Institutionalization of Memory Practices (Sara Dybris McQuaid)


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6 Notes on Studying Public Policies of Memory: The Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and the Institutionalization of Memory Practices

This chapter seeks to contribute to the discussion of how political science and memory studies might engage each other more directly at a number of junctions, and most importantly, to begin a discussion on what kinds of inquiries such engagement might inspire. The impetus behind these reflections derives from an initial observation that there seems to be some missing contact points between political science and memory studies. Indeed, political scientists and historians have written widely about the politics of memory and the politics of history, particularly in the top down construction of authentic authority and legitimate tradition of rule – in establishing loyalty to, and membership of national and communal collectives.1 However, it often remains undertheorized what kind of a thing or a process collective memory is in such procedures – put in the political science lingo, collective memory is rarely treated as an independent variable, or a focal point in these studies.2 On the other hand, memory studies (with no lack of theoretical sophistication on the conceptualization of different forms of collective memory) often engages politics solely in the arena of ← 129 | 130 → representation, media and communication, where competing memory discourses are formed and memory actors vie for recognition and domination. This engagement rarely stretches to any detailed interrogation of the political institutional structures, or bureaucratic and policy processes through which...

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