Maternal situations: Sectarianism and civility in a divided city

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the tensions between civility and sectarianism in contemporary Belfast. Drawing on interviews with mothers engaged in raising young children in the largely working class and divided inner city, the paper offers a pragmatic account of the dynamics of social reproduction and change. This is pursued through an analysis of the interplay between expectations of civility and sectarianism in four specific situations: walking, shopping, playing and schooling. The tensions and dilemmas of maternal action as the divided inner city is navigated indicate the constitutive role situations play in shaping maternal action. The situation of motherhood itself, both at the centre of ethno-national reproduction and at the interface of public and private life, is not insignificant in routinely drawing mothers into the everyday dynamics of post-conflict continuity and change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-322
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Review
Issue number2
Early online date12 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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