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Truth Recovery in Northern IrelandCritically Interpreting the Past$
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Kirk Simpson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078620

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078620.001.0001

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Victims of political violence A Habermasian model of truth recovery

Victims of political violence A Habermasian model of truth recovery

(p.77) 4 Victims of political violence A Habermasian model of truth recovery
Truth Recovery in Northern Ireland

Kirk Simpson

Manchester University Press

How can people in Northern Ireland come to ‘know the past’, after thirty-eight years of violent conflict? This chapter addresses this issue via an in-depth discussion of a unique and original model for truth recovery that is based on the communicative rationality theory of Jurgen Habermas. The Habermasian model that is outlined in this chapter suggests that the measurement of citizens' competing accounts of the past against one another is a potentially productive and stable method of attempting to uncover the ‘truth’. It provides a mechanism by which victims, and wider society, can attempt to discern the veracity of accounts of the past, and ideally agree upon a consensually negotiated history that contributes towards long-term democratic stability and genuine reconciliation.

Keywords:   post-conflict society, Northern Ireland, communicative rationality theory, Jurgen Habermas, truth recovery, democratic stability

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