Victimhood and Attitudes towards Dealing with the Legacy of the Past: Northern Ireland as a Case Study

John D. Brewer, Bernadette C. Hayes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Research Highlights and Abstract: Using Northern Ireland as a case study, this article provides the first nationally representative and systematic study of victims' views on how to deal with the past; Focusing specifically on Northern Ireland, it both investigates and provides a comprehensive account of the marked divisions between the various religious groupings-Protestants, Catholics and the non-affiliated-in terms of a range of truth recovery mechanisms to deal with legacy of its violent past; It empirically investigates and validates two key predictors-perceptions of victimhood and general attitudes towards the past-in determining the source of these divisions It outlines the implications of our findings for other societies emerging from conflict. Truth recovery mechanisms have become a cornerstone of peacebuilding efforts in societies emerging from conflict. Yet, to date, the view of victims in post-conflict societies concerning such arrangements remains highly anecdotal and often second-hand in nature. Mindful of this omission and using Northern Ireland as a case study, this article investigates the views of victims towards a range of mechanisms to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's violent past. Based on the 2011 Northern Ireland Social and Political Attitudes Survey, the results suggest some marked divisions in relation to this issue, with victims within the Catholic community being significantly more supportive of such initiatives than either Protestants or those with no religion. Moreover, while perceptions of victimhood emerge as the key predictor of attitudes among Protestants and the non-affiliated, general opinions on how to deal with the past are the key determinant of views among members of the Catholic community
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)512-530
    Number of pages19
    JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
    Issue number3
    Early online date20 May 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'Victimhood and Attitudes towards Dealing with the Legacy of the Past: Northern Ireland as a Case Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this