To Live in the Heart (and Mind) of Others. The Construction of Memory in Northern Irish Commemorative Plaques

Laura Filardo Llamas (University of Valladolid)

Volume 5, Issue 1

Abstract

Contemporary post-Agreement Northern Ireland seems to be characterised by the spectre of commemoration, as seen in a nigh number of murals, graffiti and commemoration plaques. These memorials have a double function. On the one hand, they help construct a collective memory of the past, in as much as they ‘represent' given historical events. On the other, they (de)legitimise those historical events, which are not only recalled but also reconstructed. In those (re-)constructions, given facts may be prioritized or hidden, and actors involved in them may be portrayed in very different ways. The relation between both functions can be understood by looking at the language - and images - that are used, in as much as they have a mediating function which entails accessing history from a particular point of view, which is, in turn, related to the legitimising function of those memorials. In this article, we intend to look at the linguistic strategies that are used in two sets of commemoration plaques found in Belfast.

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