7-10 Noviembre 2012

Facultat de Geografia i Història - Universitat de Barcelona


  • Call for Papers (cerrado)
  • Ponentes
  • Asistentes
  • Miércoles 7/11/2012

    Jueves 8/11/2012

    Viernes 9/11/2012

    Sábado 10/11/2012

    Jueves 8 de Noviembre de 2012, 11:30h

    Vacant Spaces, Dangerous Places: Ambiguity and Conflict in East Belfast

    Rebekah McCabe (National University Of Ireland, Maynooth)

    PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, National University Of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM). (rebekahmccabe@gmail.com)



    This paper is an exploration of uncertain spaces and the tension between formal and informal practices of place-making in the post-conflict city.


    The ethno-sectarian conflict that dominated everyday life in Northern Ireland throughout the latter half of the twentieth century remains physically evident in the spatial layout of Belfast. Reworking public space has dominated the post-conflict agenda as planning policy emphasizes economic recovery through the creation of shared, neutral places. The new developments that epitomize this aim are intended to redefine the identity of the city to draw in tourists. They are also important components of the self-directed narrative of progress and normalization that has been central to local expectations for public space in Belfast in the post-conflict years.


    Interspersed among these developments, however, are spaces of dereliction and vacancy that highlight the partial and incomplete process of urban transformation. Peppering inner-city working class neighbourhoods, where enduring social cleavages continue to shape and be shaped by the built environment, these urban wastelands have symbolic resonance as inversions of the increasingly formalized, commoditized and controlled urbanism of the new Belfast.


    As important social spaces for groups of people, such as teenagers, for whom planned and policed city space is particularly exclusionary and constraining, these spaces also act as devices for understanding the complexity of ownership and belonging in urban space. Based on ethnographic research in the inner-east of Belfast, this paper investigates the uncertainty, danger, and defiance embodied in spaces of uncertainty.