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Trauma and Identity in Contemporary Irish Culture

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Edited By Melania Terrazas Gallego

The last two centuries of Irish history have seen great traumas that continue to affect Irish society. Through constructing cultural trauma, Irish society can recognize human pain and its source/s and become receptive to the idea of taking significant and responsible measures to remedy it. The intention of this volume is to show the mediating role of the literature and film scholar, the archivist, the social media professional, the historian, the musician, the artist and the poet in identifying Irish cultural trauma past and present, in illuminating Irish national identity (which is shifting so much today), in paying tribute to the memory and suffering of others, in showing how to do things with words and, thus, how concrete action might be taken.

Trauma and Identity in Contemporary Irish Culture makes a case for the value of trauma and memory studies as a means of casting new light on the meaning of Irish identity in a number of contemporary Irish cultural practices, and of illuminating present-day attitudes to the past. The critical approaches herein are of a very interdisciplinary nature, since they combine aspects of sociology, philosophy and anthropology, among other fields. This collection is intended to lead readers to reconsider the connections between trauma, Irish cultural memory, identity, famine, diaspora, gender, history, revolution, the Troubles, digital media, literature, film, music and art.

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4 Reflection of Trauma in the Prisons Memory Archive: How Information Literacy, Human Experience and Place Are Impacted by Conflict

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Lorraine Dennis

4Reflection of Trauma in the Prisons Memory Archive: How Information Literacy, Human Experience and Place Are Impacted by Conflict

abstract

The Prisons Memory Archive (PMA) provides an insight into two key prisons of the Anglo-Irish “Troubles”, a period of thirty years of armed political conflict stretching approximately from 1968 to 1998. Based on an ethical framework of co-ownership, inclusivity and life storytelling, participants were filmed inside the empty Armagh Gaol and the Maze/Long Kesh Prison during 2006 and 2007. Participants from a diverse range of backgrounds offered their own narratives, helping us to understand everyday experiences during a period of intense violence, societal division and military containment. The aim of this chapter is to explore the interaction between memory and place in both the past and present. The development of trauma bias is analysed against seminal works on oral history to demonstrate how its rigorous methodology, shaped by some of the discipline’s formative elements, adds to the value of the PMA as a narrative of a traumatic past.

Introduction

This chapter will explore some of the audiovisual recordings of the Prisons Memory Archive (PMA), which give an insight into two key prisons of the Anglo-Irish “Troubles”, a three-year period of armed political conflict stretching approximately from 1968 to 1998. Participants were filmed inside the empty Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh Prison during 2006 and 2007; prison staff, prisoners, probation officers, teachers, family visitors and chaplains...

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