‘Narrating identity and memory’, paper presented to the University of Berkely California, European Studies virtual symposium, March 2020.

  • Angela Mazzetti (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


In this paper, I explore the temporal and individual nature of trauma and memory, based on my PhD life-history research on the enduring impact of growing up amidst the Northern Ireland conflict, euphemistically referred to as “The Troubles”. I argue that when situated within the context of the evolving present-self, past Troubles-related encounters have come to be personally appraised and remembered as traumatic. Furthermore, I posit that present-day socio-political discourses on Troubles’ legacy issues and in particular the discourse of ‘victimhood’, impact how these past events are remembered and relived. Throughout this paper, I adopt a folk definition of trauma to refer to events that have had a destabilising impact on one’s sense of self and the coherence of one’s life-narrative. I conclude that by analysing life-narratives from a ‘personal ecology’ perspective, we might establish a better understanding as to why certain events come to be appraised as personally significant and therefore come to have enduring impact over the life-course. I define one’s personal ecology as the dynamic relationship between an individual and his or her socio-cultural world that both shapes and is shaped by that evolving relationship over the life-course. Furthermore, I suggest that by focusing on personal narratives we might develop a better understanding of the personal and temporal dimensions of coming to terms with the past.
Period11 Mar 2021
Event typeConference