The discursive reconstruction of memory and national identity: The anti-war memorial the Island of Ireland Peace Park.

John Poulter

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    Abstract

    This article explores how the Island of Ireland Peace Park, opened in 1998 in Belgium, intervenes in the discursive construction of national identity using the ‘memory’ of the First World War. Analysing memory as a discourse it examines how the texts within the Park and their use in practices produce meanings which challenge the hierarchical binary of ‘Irish/British’, itself a product, in part, of previous memory work involving the war, and thus present the possibility of reimagined forms of subjectivity and reconceived senses of national identity. It goes on to argue that the Park’s design as an unheroic anti-war memorial also intertextually challenges identities dependent on engagement in physical conflict on the island. In both ways the Park works as part of the ‘Northern Ireland Peace Process’ and can be read not only as a monument to the dead of the First World War but also as a ‘Troubles’ memorial.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMemory Studies
    Early online date5 Feb 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

    Keywords

    • Anti-war memorial
    • discourse
    • First World War
    • memory
    • national identity
    • Northern Ireland Peace Process
    • rememberance
    • Troubles memorial

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