Beyond divided territories : how changing popular understandings of public space in Northern Ireland can facilitate new identity dynamics

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Title: Beyond divided territories : how changing popular understandings of public space in Northern Ireland can facilitate new identity dynamics
Authors: Stevenson, Clifford
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Date: 2010
Abstract: The sectarian geography of Northern Ireland, whereby the majority of the population live in areas predominated by one religion or the other, is typically assumed to straightforwardly reflect the territorial identities of local residents. This conflation of place and identity neglects the role of place in actively shaping and changing the behaviours occurring within them. The present paper uses new developments in the area of social psychology to examine three case studies of place identity in Northern Ireland and explore the possibilities for change. A large scale survey of the display of flags and emblems across Northern Ireland demonstrates the extent of visible territorialisation, but also the relationship between understandings of space and the acceptability of these displays. Secondly, analysis of interviews with the Orange Order and nationalist residents concerning the Drumcree dispute illustrates how different constructions of space are used to claim and counterclaim rights to display identity. Finally analysis of media and interview accounts of the St Patrick's Day event in Belfast illustrate how new understandings of shared space can negate territorial identities and facilitate coexistence in the same place and facilitate good relations.
Funding Details: Not applicable
Type of material: Working Paper
Publisher: University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies
Series/Report no.: IBIS Working Papers; 102
Copyright (published version): The author, 2010
Keywords: Public spaceTerritorialityNorthern Ireland
Subject LCSH: Public spaces--Northern Ireland
Human territoriality--Northern Ireland
Group identity--Northern Ireland
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: Paper presented at the conference 'Protestant Traditions and the Paths to Peace: Beyond the Legacies of Plantation', Global Irish Institute, University College, Dublin, 9 June 2009
Appears in Collections:Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) Working Papers and Policy Papers

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