Volume 27, Issue 1, 2017
Hope and Temporality in the Irish Long Peace
Throughout the Northern Irish Peace Process, there has been a conflict over how the state should support those affected by the conflict colloquially referred to as the Troubles. In this paper I use ethnographic research to argue that protest against the peace process is made meaningful through different temporal constructions of hope—what and how individual activists view as the future moral good. Hoping is a cultural and political practice with which individuals orient themselves to one another and to different political events, particularly contests over reconciliation and support payments. Understanding how the act and the ethics of hoping fit into different religious and secular narratives is a way of understanding the complex role of religious belief in giving meaning to political action. This approach also reorients peace activists towards the victim as a future-oriented agent, and not only a subject of past violence.