‘The invisible sun: an ethnographic exploration of coping resilience and resource depletion’, paper presented to the Multi-disciplinary Standpoints on Conflict Transformation, George Mitchell Institute, Queen's University Belfast, 9th September 2017

  • Angela Mazzetti (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


This paper takes its title from the 1981 number two chart hit by the rock band, The Police. The song’s lyrics reflect how people find the will, the ‘hope’ to carry on with their lives despite the difficulties they encounter. There have been numerous studies about how people coped with the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and a key debate in the literature has been whether such long-term exposure to conflict leads to a depletion of coping resources and mal-adaptive coping strategies in later life or if such long-term exposure has a general toughening effect resulting in refined coping strategies and more resilient and ‘hopeful’ individuals. In this paper I present the preliminary findings from my PhD ethnographic study on coping with the legacy of the ‘Troubles’. Over the past year I have engaged with a range of individuals and organisations exploring how our memories of the past influence both our perceptions of stressful encounters in the present and the coping strategies in which we engage to manage these stressful encounters. In particular I explore the individual, situational and temporal factors that influence how we remember the past, the emotions that these memories evoke, and the dynamic continuum between resource depletion and resilience. In this paper I focus specifically on this debate and I present a range of insights from my research participants.
Period09 Sep 2017
Event typeConference


  • the Troubles; coping; resilience; coping resources