Troubling Victims: Representing a New Politics of Victimhood in Northern Ireland on Stage and Screen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Victimhood remains one of the most contested topics of the Northern Irish peace process. While debates surrounding definitions continue, nuance has crept into the political discourse surrounding the place of victims in society. The 2013 Special Advisors (SpAd) legislation, for example, deals with the accountability of government to victims; on the other hand, reforms to service provision have transformed the relationship of victims with the state. There have also been various calls to reposition victims in regard to broader political developments: in late 2013 the Attorney General advocated ending judicial pursuit of unresolved murders, while the talks process chaired by the American diplomat, Dr Richard Haass, suggested a new ‘civic vision’ for (in his words) ‘contending’ with the past. This chapter explores recent representations of victims and victimhood in Northern Irish drama and film. Focusing on Martin Lynch’s 2013 play Meeting at Menin Gate and the 2013 film A Belfast Story (dir. Nathan Todd), this chapter suggests that despite their ostensible mainstream elements both work to trouble the parameters within which the victims’ debate is taking place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Legacy of the Good Friday Agreement
Subtitle of host publicationNorthern Irish Politics, Culture and Art after 1998
EditorsCharles Armstrong
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)9783319912318
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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