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‘We Shall Overcome’? The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

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      Abstract

      While 2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in Northern Ireland, it also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the civil rights movement and the protests of 1968. One of the key innovations of the Agreement is that it makes issues of rights central to the broader consociational framework, with the entirety of section 6 devoted to ‘Rights, Safeguards and Equality of opportunity.’ This reinforces a perception that the GFA is a culmination of the civil rights movement and its aims; and that the conflict itself was based on issues of rights. The civil rights movement continues to be an enduring collective memory for the nationalist community in post-Agreement Northern Ireland, but since 1998 it has become a site of contested memory. This article considers the civil rights movement’s reputational trajectory since 1998, questioning why this is so, and why it is so ripe for appropriation. It will also examine how different memories of the movement have been mobilized to serve various and sometimes competing agendas. In doing so, it will explore the cultural and political power the memory of ‘rights’ had in the Agreement and in the two decades since.

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      Most cited references 31

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      Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire

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        WHAT IS ETHNIC IDENTITY AND DOES IT MATTER?

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Newcastle University, GB
            Contributors
            Journal
            2056-6700
            Open Library of Humanities
            Open Library of Humanities
            2056-6700
            24 April 2018
            2018
            : 4
            : 1
            10.16995/olh.259
            Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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            Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
            Categories
            #Agreement20

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