Geographies of conflict and post-conflict Northern Ireland

Sara McDowell, Peter Shirlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The violent conflict in Northern Ireland that led to some 3700 deaths was tied to opposing ethnosectarian groups and the state and the disputation between them over that country’s constitutional future. Republicans such as the Irish Republican Army used violence in order to ‘gain’ a united Ireland. Whereas loyalists such as the Ulster Volunteer Force and the British state utilised violence in order to maintain Northern Ireland’s constitutional link with the United Kingdom. Geographers writing on this conflict have, via various forms of spatial analysis studied the consequences of that violence with regard to territoriality, the construction of ideological space and the perpetuation of ethno-sectarian boundaries. In more recent times, the analysis of conflict and post-conflict NorthernIreland has evaluated the governance of a divided society, the role paramilitaries have played in embedding peace and also the paradoxical role of reproducing conflict by other non-violent means. Northern Ireland remains as a divided society but there is a prominent role for geographers who study such a complex place to add to wider international scholarship regarding resistance and domination, revanchism, discourse construction, post-conflict and the impact upon place and also the role of agency in both perpetuating and removing violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-709
JournalGeography Compass
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Sept 2011


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