By Peter Shirlow

It is a more often than not held view that the town of Belfast is rising out of clash and right into a new period of tolerance and transformation. This booklet demanding situations this point of view. The authors pinpoint how overseas peace accords, comparable to the Belfast contract, are steadily eroded as clash shifts right into a stale and repetitive trend of ethnically-divided pageant over assets.

The publication bargains a brilliant portrait of the human drama and brutality of the clash in Belfast. The authors argue that the regulate of position is still crucial weapon within the politicization of groups and the replica of political violence. Segregation presents the laboratory in which sectarianism maintains to develop. studying the results of those social divisions, the authors draw upon a large overseas literature and supply insights that would be necessary to scholars of geography, making plans, politics, sociology and peace studies.

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Extra info for Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City (Contemporary Irish Studies)

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For republicans in particular, gaining political equality was a meaningful goal. Shirlow 01 intro 38 4/4/06 11:46:14 The Belfast Disagreement 39 For both communities the politics of constitutional reformulation was less important, especially with regard to electoral outcomes, than the day-to-day politics of identity and political representation. Equality, for example, whether attached to housing, marching or employment, remained centred on a dominant politics of sectarian headcounting and the use of the electorates attached to sectarianised space.

Remaining blameless thus remains a key component in the perpetuation of sectarian atavism in Northern Ireland. In the context of the peace process and more recent violent events it is clear that the comprehensive desire to circulate an image of stability means that those engaged in violence must remain categorised as an atavistic cabal intent upon destroying political ‘progress’. Recognising that many people involved in ethno-sectarian and violent acts experience disproportionately high rates of fear and exposure to risk is rarely denoted as a motivating factor for the perpetuation of intercommunity discord.

For them the fundamental problem within consociationalism is that it is premised upon the divisions it aims to resolve. It …assumes that identities are primordial and exclusive rather than malleable and relational: high fences in other words make good neighbours! A fundamental condition of consociationalism is an overarching allegiance to the shared polity which counteracts these centrifugal forces. (Wilford and Wilson, 2001: 6) Such an outcome was not to be unexpected given that devolution, regionalisation and even the evolution of postmodern politics can each unravel the complexities of ethnic belonging.

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