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Debating Death : : Discourse and Legitimacy in the Northern Irish victims' rights movement

  • Author(s): Hallman, Francis Candler
  • et al.
Abstract

In the wake of nearly forty years of armed conflict, the Northern Irish Assembly announced the Victims' and Survivors' Order of 2006. This order categorized all victims, civilian and paramilitary members, as beneficiaries of compensatory schemes and social services developed to assist victims of political violence. The order sparked a debate about the Northern Irish Troubles and the morality of terrorism and counter-terrorism efforts. The debate also attracted significant international attention as victims' advocates from foreign countries, particularly Israel-Palestine, traveled to Ireland to discuss the politics of victimhood. This dissertation argues that Irish and foreign activists use spatiotemporal emplotment devices--or "chronotopes" (Bakhtin 1981)--to produce competing visions of victimhood in the province. Peace workers, aiming to create social services for victims of political violence, use chronotopes to problematize and suggest solutions for what has been termed the "Long Peace", a period of sustained debate about transitional justice. This work contributes to the recent analysis of chronotopes in talk-in- interaction, as well as anthropological studies on the circulation of human rights and War on Terrorism discourses

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