This article explores the neglected dimension of gender in debates and practices concerned with conflict transformation and post-conflict reconcilation, by focusing on the hyper-masculinized figures of 'the terrorist' and its linked converse, the soldier hero, in representations of paramilitary combatants in the context of the Irish Troubles and peace process. Its particular concern lies in understanding the effects of such representations in relation to the lived identities of both ex-combatants and their victims, and their negotiation and contestation in personal memory-work and in inter-personal encounters framed by discourses of 'reconciliation' and 'coming to terms with the past'. The first part of the article develops a framework grounded in current thinking about memory, identity and life-storytelling to analyse the subjective dimensions of conflict transformation in post-conflict Northern Ireland. It considers the implications of hypermasculinized representation of 'the terrorist' for paramilitary combatant identities during the Troubles, and for the reappraisal of the past and the making of ex-combatant identities in the era since the cease-fires and Good Friday Agreement. The second part anchors this discussion through a case study of the loyalist paramilitary combatant, Michael Stone. It explores the conflicting representations of Stone's identity as terrorist and hero; the negotiation and contestation of these representations in his own memory-work to fashion a post-conflict masculinity; and the dialogic relationship between Stone's story and self-presentation as an ex-combatant and the stories and experiences of victims and survivors of his violence, who also grapple with the afterlife of 'the terrorist'. The analysis offers an interpretation of the gender dimensions and dynamics of these representations and considers their implications for reconciliation within the social world and – utilizing psychoanalytic theorizations – within the internal world of the psyche.
|Title of host publication
|Terrorist transgressions: gender and the visual culture of the terrorist
|Sue Malvern, Gabriel Koureas
|Place of Publication
|Number of pages
|Published - 18 Dec 2013
|International library of cultural studies