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

Joanne Murphy, Sara McDowell, Maire Braniff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2016


  • Policing Organizational Change Historical Dialogue Memory Northern Ireland


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