When is a justice campaign over? Transitional justice, ‘overing’ and Bloody Sunday

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This article explores the political, strategic and emotional issue of victim groups deciding to continue or discontinue central components of a justice campaign in the aftermath of receiving ‘truth’. Drawing on in-depth interviews, the article focuses on relatives and other stakeholders’ varying positions on (dis)continuing the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration march after the publication of the Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and the UK Prime Minister’s apology for the massacre. I demonstrate that there has emerged an, at times, acrimonious schism between those who feel the apology and report were sufficient to stop the march and those who believe them to be insufficient. Thus, while much of the literature on political apology evaluates its effects on the dyadic relationship between victim and perpetrator, this article develops Sara Ahmed’s concept of ‘overing’ to demonstrate that the ostensible moment of truth can create unanticipated and deleterious intra-victim tensions. The article concludes by suggesting practical measures emerging from the findings that other justice campaigns may consider.




Bentley, T. (2021). When is a justice campaign over? Transitional justice, ‘overing’ and Bloody Sunday. Cooperation and Conflict, 56(4), 394–413. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010836721989365

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