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Accepted Paper:

Imagining Post-Post-Conflict Community Arts in Twenty-First-Century Northern Ireland  
Kayla Rush (Dublin City University)

Paper short abstract:

Northern Ireland is most frequently presented as a 'deeply divided' society. This is not the whole story. Drawing on recent research on community arts, I put forth the idea of the 'post-post-conflict', a way of imagining Northern Ireland differently, as removed from its 'post-conflict' status.

Paper long abstract:

In academic scholarship and popular imagination alike, Northern Ireland is most frequently presented as a post-conflict, 'deeply divided' society. This image is reinforced by the region's visual landscape, its not-always-functional consociational power-sharing government, and the ongoing realities of segregation in housing and education, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods.

This is an important part of Northern Ireland's story, but it is not the whole story, as I was consistently reminded by my research participants. Drawing on recent ethnographic research with community artists and community arts organisations, this paper puts forth the idea of the 'post-post-conflict' society - not as a point of historical fact, but rather as an ideal shared by many of those with whom I researched. In this paper, I suggest that there is a widely-shared desire among those working and participating in community arts to present Northern Ireland in a different light, one removed from its post-conflict status: as a place that is simultaneously unique and boring, one-of-a-kind and just like numerous other places in the world. I examine a series of community arts projects that exemplify this post-post-conflict imagination, as well as the limitations placed upon it, which were most often attributed to what was seen as a backward-looking approach to public policy. I propose that the post-post-conflict ideal is held in a constant state of emergent tension, and that this tension renders it all the more important as a topic of anthropological study.

Panel Speak05a
Researching against the grain: correspondence and conflict between individual representation and the anthropological metanarrative I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -