Rethinking Difficult Pasts: Bloody Sunday (1972) as a Case Study.
Cultural Sociology, 3 (3).
The sociological literature on collective memory puts forward fragmented and
multivocal commemorations as two dominant ways of responding to difficult pasts.
This article argues that there is room for improvement in these models by specifying
the conditions under which a controversial past can be remembered initially
in a fragmented way and, with greater temporal distance from the original event,
can evolve into a more consensual form of commemoration in which the past is
seized upon as a resource to advance the politics of reconciliation between two
opposing identity groups in an unsettled society. An evolving political climate, active
memory choreography, and the usability of the past in the present all help account
for this. The empirical evidence to support this theoretical claim comes from a
long-range, historical study of the case of Bloody Sunday (1972).
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