Navigating complexity and uncertainty after the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement : the role of societal trauma?
Keywords:agonism, hegemony, the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement, contingency, complexity, ‘culture of feeling’, politics and the political
A central challenge of the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement is the radical contingency or uncertainty that underpins the current democratic legal order in Northern Ireland. It is a dimension of the Agreement that will come to the fore with growing demands for preparations and planning ahead of any referendum on the constitutional future of the region. Using a combination of perspectives from the literature on societal trauma and agonism, this article asks if we need to pay more attention to this affective dimension of the Belfast–Good Friday Agreement and the journey from outright antagonism to an agonism that envisages a society capable of addressing conflict while respecting the ‘other’s’ entitlement to hold a radically different position.