Teens and territory in ‘post-conflict’ Belfast

If walls could talk

Author:
Madeleine Leonard
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Northern Ireland is regarded as one of the most successful 'post conflict' societies in the world. The reimaging of Belfast as a 'post conflict' city tends to gloss over these persistent divisions. This book provides a thought provoking and comprehensive account of teenagers' perceptions and experiences of the physical and symbolic divisions that exist in 'post conflict' Belfast. Despite Northern Ireland's new status as one of the most successful examples of the resolution of what was once seen as an intractable conflict, the peace walls which separate Protestant and Catholic areas remain in place. The book examines the micro-geographies of young people and draws attention to the social practices, discourses and networks that directly or indirectly (re)shape how they make sense of and negotiate life in Belfast. It focuses is on the physical landscape enclosing interface areas and the impact that it has on the perceptions and actions of young people living in these areas. The book explores how physical divisions are perceived and experienced by young people who live in interface areas and how they view the architecture of division. It pays attention to the impact of place on teenagers' social relations within and between the localities in which they reside. The city centre of Belfast epitomises the city's status as a 'post conflict' city. A recurring argument is that identity does not exist 'out there'. The book shows how social relationships are inherently spatial and how identities are influenced by place and impact on it.

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