Friday, May 26, 2006

New Book: Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City

My friend Jaap in Leiden, the Netherlands, has drawn my attention to a new book that seems to follow in the tradition of Allen Feldmans's early-1990s classic about violence in Ireland, "Formations of Violence." Here is the blurb:

"Paris, Jerusalem and Belfast are cities that are shaped by political
violence, death and the injustices caused by segregated living. But divided
cities are becoming places within which policy makers and politicians
project an image of normality despite the facts of social injustice,
victimhood and harm.

It is a commonly held view that the city of Belfast is emerging out of
conflict and into a new era of tolerance and transformation. This book
challenges this viewpoint. The authors pinpoint how international peace
accords, such as the Belfast Agreement, are gradually eroded as conflict
shifts into a stale and repetitive pattern of ethnically-divided competition
over resources. This book also offers new material on politically motivated
violence in Belfast through the use of mapping and other statistical

Belfast offers a vivid portrait of how segregation, lived experience and
fear are linked in a manner that undermines democratic accountability. The
authors argue that the control of place remains the most important weapon in
the politicisation of communities and the reproduction of political
violence. Segregation provides the laboratory within which sectarianism
continues to grow. Examining the implications of these social divisions, the
authors draw upon a wide international literature and provide insights that
will be useful to students of geography, planning, politics, sociology and
peace studies."


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