By Brian Conway (auth.)
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Additional info for Commemoration and Bloody Sunday: Pathways of Memory
Actors, contexts and temporality are the focal concepts that help explain this mnemonic “career” expressed via bodies, spaces, times, discourses and images. Memory choreographers were the key agents behind this shift in meaning-making. 76 Symbolic of this long-range shift is the temporal extension of the commemoration of Bloody Sunday from an afternoon-length event to a week-long affair. The event has become a tourist destination that brings people to Derry to remember the tragic loss of life in 1972 while also feeling good about and enjoying themselves by attending workshops, film screenings, exhibitions and other events.
Indeed, religion became a conduit for the articulation of Irish opposition to British state activity. As well as strengthening religion as a repository of collective identity and shaping the values and beliefs of the Irish people, 26 Commemoration and Bloody Sunday the English colonial project also influenced the material conditions of Irish society. The early planting of Ulster resulted in a strong division between labour and capital. While the native Irish could sell their “free” labour as tenants on the land of the “Big House” English aristocrats, landowners monopolized key sources of capital.
16 At the micro individual level of analysis, memory work has to do with what individuals do to keep the past alive and fresh. Keeping photographs of the dead, attending commemorative events, and passing on stories about the past to one’s children, all constitute examples of individual-level memory work. Some individuals 6 Commemoration and Bloody Sunday bring first-hand experience of the past to their memory work – what Maurice Halbwachs refers to as autobiographical memory17 – and others bring experience of the past mediated through cultural artefacts or practices.