Navigating complexity and uncertainty after the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement: the role of societal trauma?

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Abstract

A central challenge of the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement is the radical contingency or uncertainty that underpins the current democratic legal order in Northern Ireland. It is a dimension of the Agreement that will come to the fore with growing demands for preparations and planning ahead of any referendum on the constitutional future of the region. Using a combination of perspectives from the literature on societal trauma and agonism, this article asks if we need to pay more attention to this affective dimension of the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement and the journey from outright antagonism to an agonism that envisages a society capable of addressing conflict while respecting the ‘other’s’ entitlement to hold a radically different position.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-98
Number of pages16
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Volume71
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

This article is situated within the legal, constitutional and political analysis of the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement. The article also references literature on societal trauma and conflict.

Keywords

  • agonism; complexity; Good Friday Agreement; complexity; emergence; hegemony; the political; politics; Northern Ireland
  • trauma; societal trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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