Peter Shirlow
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Belfast
A segregated city
in Northern Ireland after the troubles
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Policy makers aim to construct Belfast via non-controversial representations. Illusionary and buoyant renditions of Belfast are linked with somewhat surreal distortions. The essential problem that afflicts Belfast is that geography matters in a way that is explicit and unconcealed. Growing up within a more intensively segregated city, within which boundaries have become more rigidified by violence, has a momentous impact upon the understanding of place. The fate of the city lies somewhere between the uneven developments that arise out of globalisation and the balkanisation that defines ethno-sectarian life. The rise of ethno-sectarian violence in the late 1960s led to greater segregation and new interfaces across the city. The analysis of fear and prejudice underpins the need to translate policy and political rhetoric around segregation into practice and to connect practice with the reality of sectarianised habituation. Memory and reproduction of low-level violence are intertwined in the promotion of ethno-sectarian attitudes.

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Northern Ireland after the troubles

A society in transition

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