chapter  2
Restricted experiences in a conflict society: the local lives of Belfast children
Pages 19

Once in a while, the international press is reminded of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland by some new act of terror or intransigence, and the world is taken aback by the persistence of the hatred between Catholics and Protestants in this old area of conflict. Generation after generation becomes involved in the strife, and the strength of the feelings involved does not seem to wear out over time. As is typical of children in such areas of conflict, children in Northern Ireland have been portrayed by the press and researchers either as victims of adult stupidity or as little devils showing distressing proof of the human capacity for evil. Since these children challenge our image of children’s characteristics and appropriate lives, understanding their experiences of growing up in the midst of conflict is of great relevance to the study of children.