Not-the-Troubles: disinterring the marginalised stories of the ordinary and the everyday

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Urban studies of Belfast, Northern Ireland, thoroughly explore the contested or post-conflict city. However, these ‘grand narratives’ do not necessarily accord with people’s day-to-day experiences. Although the ordinary and the everyday are the lifeblood of anthropological inquiry, the mundane in Belfast dwells on the narratorial margin, as academic and political loci predominantly align to the Troubles: to the protagonists, the causes or the peace-building aftermath. Ten by Nine (Tenx9) is a monthly, public storytelling night showcasing ordinary people and their true, personal, everyday stories, juxtaposing the funny, poignant and educational, and celebrating the quotidian. Retelling Belfast at Tenx9 challenges hegemonic discourse by moving the mundane from the margin to the centre, opening up a space for small ‘t’ troubles to be shared. The communitas at Tenx9 promotes a sense of belonging in the city outwith Troubled narratives and storytelling, an ancient Irish oral culture, becomes a new form of symbolic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
JournalAnthropological Forum
Issue number1
Early online date19 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Divided city
  • Belfast
  • Urban margins
  • Storytelling
  • Communitas


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