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Abstract

Belfast seems well known as a violent city; it has experienced a long history of turmoil related to the British invasion and subsequent division based on ethnicity as seen through religion. Although the profile of the city has improved, meaning rising tourism and income, the Belfast Agreement of 1998, as well as divisions between ethnicities continues to haunt the city despite an apparent end to violence, fighting and paramilitary activity. This paper explores the relationship between violence and space as exemplified in Belfast through the ‘peacelines’ which stand in interface zones between Catholic and Protestant residential areas. As well as being physical barriers, the peacelines are also symbolic of segregation as it manifests itself in other ways; through the ways in which people move through space and the ways in which bodies and identity are reflections of the city. The process of gentrification is also explored in the context of Belfast, with recent literature suggesting that class conflict exists alongside ethnic conflict.


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