Historical Dialogue and Memory in Policing Change: the Case of the Police in Northern Ireland

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This paper explores the complex relationship between organisational change and historical dialogue in transitional societies. Using the policing reform process in Northern Ireland as an example, the paper does three things: the first is to explore the ways in which policing changes were understood within the policing organisation and ‘community’ itself. The second is to make use of a processual approach, privileging the interactions of context, process and time within the analysis. Thirdly, it considers this perspective through the relatively new lens of ‘historical dialogue’: understood here as a conversation and an oscillation between the past, present and future through reflections on individual and collective memory. Through this analysis, we consider how members’ understandings of a difficult past (and their roles in it) facilitated and/or impeded the organisations change process. Drawing on a range of interviews with previous and current members of the organisation, this paper sheds new light on how institutions deal with and understand the past as they experience organisational change within the a wider societal transition from conflict to non-violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number4
Early online date28 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Sept 2016


  • Policing
  • Organizational Change
  • Historical Dialogue
  • Memory
  • Northern Ireland


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