chapter  2
The victims
Mobilisation, the politics of victimhood, and constructing the ‘disappeared’
WithLauren Dempster
Pages 38

In a number of contexts, ‘disappearances’ have created the impetus for mobilisation by victims’ families. The campaign by families of the ‘disappeared’ in Northern Ireland is argued to be ‘illustrative of the political and moral power of victim-focused initiatives.’ The chapter examines the relevance of victim agency in relation to continuing debate on the extent to which transitional justice processes internationally are ‘victim-centred.’ It focuses on shift to Northern Ireland, and the contours of the ‘silence’ experienced by families in the aftermath of the ‘disappearance.’ The chapter draws on the social movement literature, the families’ mobilisation efforts, with a particular focuses on how the ‘disappeared’ have been ‘framed’ by families, and the political opportunities available to them. It explains the families of the ‘disappeared’ have succeeded in framing the ‘disappeared’ in such a way as to mobilise widespread support for their cause.