‘Talking Stones’ examines how collective memory and material culture are used to support present political and ideological needs in contemporary society. Using the memorialization of the Troubles in contemporary Northern Ireland as a case study, this book investigates how non-state, often proscribed, organizations have filled a societal vacuum in the creation of public memorials. In particular, these groups have sifted through the past to propose “official” collective narratives of national identification, historical legitimation, and moral justifications for violence.


The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland

Elisabetta Viggiani
Foreword by Hastings Donnan
288 pages, 20 ills, 11 tables, bibliog., index
Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford.

ISBN  978-1-78238-407-6 $120.00/£75.00 Hb Published (August 2014)
ISBN  978-1-78533-341-5 $34.95/£22.00 Pb Not Yet Published (September 2016)




“This is an excellent piece of work, one of the best of its kind. The ethnographic approach, with the actual testimonies, is very well done.”
- Jack Santino, Bowling Green State University

“This is an excellent account of the reproduction of collective memory and its associated narratives. It delves into the nature and construction of memory and the related forms of propaganda and myth making therein. The inquiry into the construction of memorialization is vital for any scholar of divided societies, nation-building and community construction. The book is important in that it not only describes the processes of such construction but also pinpoints an analysis of the interpretation of meaning.”
- Peter Shirlow, Queen’s University Belfast

“A valuable study of memorialization in Norther Ireland not only illustrates anthropological points about memory and materiality but also emphasizes the role of non-state organizations and agents in the production of knowledge and the diversity of and struggle between contrasting narratives of the past and identities of the present and future…Viggiani successfully chronicles both intergroup and intragroup forces and rivalries, while also exploring the makers and receivers of the emplaced narratives produced by multiple actors. The book is a valuable contribution to the anthropology of memory and of materiality, and it is also a timely reminder of the presence and prominence of substate and non-state agents in a world where it is often still assumed that states have a monopoly not only on power but on knowledge.”
- Jack D. Eller, Anthropology Review Database

“This is an excellent book that makes a major contribution by presenting the most comprehensive study yet written on the meaning and significance, past and present, of the ubiquitous political memorials that mark the urban terrain of one of the most famously politically divided cities in the world.”
- Jeffrey Sluka, Massey University, New Zealand