Precarious spaces and urban change in post-conflict Belfast

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The Northern Ireland conflict is shaped by an ethno-national contest between a minority Catholic/Nationalist/Republican population who broadly want to see the reunification of Ireland; and a majority Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist one, who mainly wish to maintain the sovereign connection with Britain. After nearly three decades of violence, which intensified segregation in schooling, labour markets and especially housing, a Peace Agreement was signed on Good Friday 1998. This paper is concerned with the peace process after the Agreement, not so much for the ambiguous political compromise, but for the way in which the city is constitutive of transformation and how Belfast in particular, is now embedded with a range of social instabilities and spatial contradictions. The Agreement encouraged rapid economic expansion, inward investment, especially in knowledge–intensive sectors and a short-lived optimism that markets and the neo-liberal fix would drive the post-conflict, post-industrial and post-political city. Capital would trump ethnicity and the economic uplift would bind citizens to a new expression of hope based on property speculation, tourism and global corporate investment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventPrecarious Peacebuilding: Exploring New Research Agendas - The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 01 Oct 201302 Oct 2013


ConferencePrecarious Peacebuilding: Exploring New Research Agendas


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