Not quite the same
: A personal ecology perspective on the enduring impact of growing up with the troubles

  • Angela Mazzetti

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores the enduring impact of Troubles-related memories on the lives and life-courses of individuals who grew up in Northern Ireland during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Underpinned by theories of emotions, memory, trauma, and Nigel Rapport’s life-project approach, it employs the perspective of ‘personal ecology’ to analyse how past events have influenced their perceptions and aspirations and how memories of past events have been reworked within the context of the peace process and recent political developments, including Brexit. The study defines ‘personal ecology’ as the unique embeddedness of embodied individuals in dynamic socio-cultural and multi-sensorial environments that shift and evolve over time. This relational process comprises personal, environmental, and temporal dimensions. Personal factors include an individual’s sense of well-being and self-worth, and their access to resources in pursuit of salient aspirations and goals. Environmental factors include people’s social networks and wider social, cultural, economic, and political factors. Temporal aspects of the relationship between an individual and their environment are also explored, as interrelated personal and environmental dynamics shift and evolve over time.

This thesis is based on fieldwork conducted between June 2016 and December 2018, which was a period of socio-political uncertainty and sectarian violence as people in the region reacted and adjusted to the fallout of the UK government’s decision to leave the European Union. The nine research participants at the centre of the study were recruited through snowball sampling. They shared their personal experiences of the Troubles during a series of one-to-one life-history interviews. These individual discussions were complemented by additional inquires with academics and practitioners related to wider social and historical themes.

Thesis embargoed until 31st  December 2034.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorFiona Murphy (Supervisor) & Maruska Svasek (Supervisor)


  • Memory
  • trauma,
  • the Troubles

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