Contesting Postwar Belfast

  • Ivan GusicEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


This chapter employs relational space on postwar Belfast (Northern Ireland) to understand the role of space in its urban conflicts over peace(s). The focus is both on how society produces and how it is produced by space in its material, perceived, and lived dimensions. The first line of analysis explores how Belfast’s seemingly given ethnonational geography is not “just there”, but—in contrast—is actively produced by those supporting the Catholic and Protestant ethnonational peace(s). This production happens through everything from erecting flags and painting murals to spreading fear of “the other” or clustering into “our/their” residential areas. The second line of analysis explores how Belfast’s built environment—e.g. its peacewalls and defensive architecture, its houses and roads, and its city centre—“talks back” to society by actively producing ethnonational and socioeconomic divisions that in turn support the ethnonational and normalising peace(s) whilst undermining the coexisting one.


Belfast Northern Ireland Relational space Ethnonational geography Built environment 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceLund UniversityLundSweden

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