The Good Friday Agreement is widely celebrated as a political success story, one that has brought peace to a region that was once synonymous around the globe with political violence. The truth, as ever, is rather more complicated than that.
In many respects, the era of the peace process has seen Northern Irish society change almost beyond recognition. Those incidents of politically motivated violence that were once commonplace have become thankfully rare and a new generation has emerged whose identities and interests are rather more fluid and cosmopolitan than those of their predecessors. However, Northern Ireland continues to operate in the long shadow of its own turbulent past. Those who were victims of violence, as well as those who were its agents, have often been consigned to the margins of a society still struggling to cope with the traumas of the Troubles. Furthermore, the transition to ‘peace’ has revealed the existence of new, and not so new, forms of violence in Northern Irish society, directed towards women, ethnic minorities and the poor.
Northern Ireland a generation after Good Friday sets out to capture the complex, and often contradictory, realities that have emerged more than two decades on from the region’s vaunted peace deal. Across nine original essays, the authors offer a critical and comprehensive reading of a society that often appears to have left its violent past behind but at the same time remains subject to its gravitational pull. — .