Ideology and Identity in the Founding Group of the Social Democratic and Labour Party: Evaluating the Life-Writing of a Political Generation

  • Stephen HopkinsEmail author


This chapter analyses the politics of life-writing and published narratives in relation to the founding generation of the SDLP, with particular reference to their attitudes towards the outbreak of the ‘Troubles’ and the increasing violence of the conflict in the early 1970s. Hopkins examines attitudes to critical aspects of the party’s past, one of which is the complex relationship of many of the key individuals in the ‘leading group’ of SDLP founders to the republican movement, and its embrace of political violence. He reflects upon the benefits and limitations of ‘life-writing’ as a research methodology, suggesting it is a key element in facilitating a more nuanced understanding of the ‘memory struggles’ which characterise the legacy of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of History, Politics and International RelationsUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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