Recollecting and Re-Collecting

The Ethical Challenges of Social Archiving in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland


The ethical dimensions of remembering might usefully be thought of through the activity of recollection in both its contemporary connection to remembering and its archaic sense of re-collection. Since the function of memory turned to principles of what Aleida Assmann calls ‘reactivation, reformulation and reinterpretation’ (2011, 80) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, recollecting is mostly taken to mean remembering. However, equally important is its archaic pre-sixteenth-century usage in the sense of re-collecting, which, in addition to meaning ‘recalling to memory’, had the implication of summoning up one’s spirits or courage, of gathering together after some kind of dispersal. This chapter will explore the acts of recollecting in the sense of remembering and re-collecting, of gathering and reassembling depleted resources and energies, to explore the significance and consider the ethical implications of memory following the violence of a protracted conflict. Recollection is necessary to work out appropriate ways to remember the dead of the conflict as well as how to pay attention to the continuing impact on those who remain. Re-collection is also essential in the sense of taking stock, creating an emotional inventory of capacity, strength and the desire to rebuild.


Restorative Justice Ethical Challenge Community Theatre Cultural Memory Founding Myth 
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© Alison Jeffers 2016

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