Beyond the walls: dismantling Belfast's conflict architecture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the first paramilitary ceasefires in 1994, the Northern Ireland peace and political processes have addressed a series of sensitive and contentious issues synonymous with the conflict, such as policing, prisoner releases, decommissioning and power sharing. However, one issue that has been absent from these transformative processes has been that of the peace walls, which were first constructed by the British Army in 1969 as a military response to sectarian violence and disorder. There are now over 60 such physical barriers and walls dominating the landscape of working-class communities in Belfast. Ironically, a significant number of these have been constructed or strengthened after the cessations in violence and introduction of power sharing arrangements in government. This reality of fortified segregation sits uneasily with the popular narrative of the peace process in Northern Ireland and its successes. With this in mind, this paper uses primary quantitative research to ascertain the factors that influence the public's perception and interpretation of the peace walls, with the understanding that these findings can support the development and implementation of policies aimed to transform the conflict architecture.
LanguageEnglish
Pages447-454
JournalCity
Volume18
Issue number4-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2014

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dismantling
peace
violence
peace process
quantitative research
prisoner
working class
segregation
military
Military
narrative
interpretation
community

Keywords

  • segregation
  • post-conflict
  • contested city
  • peace walls

Cite this

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title = "Beyond the walls: dismantling Belfast's conflict architecture",
abstract = "Since the first paramilitary ceasefires in 1994, the Northern Ireland peace and political processes have addressed a series of sensitive and contentious issues synonymous with the conflict, such as policing, prisoner releases, decommissioning and power sharing. However, one issue that has been absent from these transformative processes has been that of the peace walls, which were first constructed by the British Army in 1969 as a military response to sectarian violence and disorder. There are now over 60 such physical barriers and walls dominating the landscape of working-class communities in Belfast. Ironically, a significant number of these have been constructed or strengthened after the cessations in violence and introduction of power sharing arrangements in government. This reality of fortified segregation sits uneasily with the popular narrative of the peace process in Northern Ireland and its successes. With this in mind, this paper uses primary quantitative research to ascertain the factors that influence the public's perception and interpretation of the peace walls, with the understanding that these findings can support the development and implementation of policies aimed to transform the conflict architecture.",
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Beyond the walls: dismantling Belfast's conflict architecture. / Byrne, Jonny; Gormley-Heenan, Cathy.

In: City, Vol. 18, No. 4-5, 24.09.2014, p. 447-454.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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