Growing Up in Northern Ireland
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Young people in Northern Ireland (NI) have grown up during ‘the Troubles’1 and subsequent peace process, a period of significant political, economic and social transition. The ‘Inventing adulthood’ study has shadowed these changes since 1996. Politicians and those in positions of power and influence negotiated, renegotiated and thrashed out settlements and deals, while sectarianism and violence continued in the streets and communities where the young people lived. Ceasefires were agreed, and remained largely intact but the process of moving towards an inclusive and peaceful society was, and continues to be, delicate. The Troubles and the history of sectarian divisions and violence have had a strong impact on the lives of young people growing up in NI, colouring the ways they understand themselves, and their relationships with families, communities, friends and politics. This generation can be seen as falling between two eras (Mannheim 1952). They are children of the Troubles and at the same time the first generation to grow into adulthood in a post-ceasefire society — a society in its infancy in terms of governance, and very much at the early stages of building a shared future.
KeywordsYoung People Suicide Rate Life Chance Critical Moment Lone Parent
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