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Peaceful spaces? "Walking" through the New Liminal spaces of peacebuilding and development in north Belfast.


Strategies of international peacebuilding depend on the creation of secure, manageable spaces that embody the norms of intervening actors. This article examines attempts by governmental and international donors to create pockets of "peaceful space" in Belfast's city center, and their effects on the surrounding neighborhoods of north Belfast. Using the technique of an ethnographic walk, we examine several key sites that reflect how the creation of "peaceful spaces" has also generated distinctive "outsides" shaped by interfaces, enclaves, and complex patterns of conflict. By reframing these spaces as a result rather than solely a precondition of peacebuilding activities, this article challenges the assumption that conflict degrades the spaces in the outside areas of "peaceful space" and that peacebuilding strategies ameliorate them. Instead, we argue that development and peacebuilding strategies have generated deterritorialized spaces whose status and ownership is indeterminate, in which the right of access and use is unclear, and in which the conditions created by constant and always incomplete transformation are used to justify intensive securitization and modes of control.


Peacebuilding, development, Northern Ireland (Belfast), Michel de Certeau, political geography.

Peace takes space. The strategies of international peacebuilding depend on the creation of secure, manageable spaces that embody the norms of intervening actors, and which act as epicenters from which these strategies can be consolidated and extended. Specifically, peacebuilding involves a transformation of the political geography of areas designated as "conflicted" into what are seen as "peaceful spaces." The creation of "peaceful spaces" is an inherently uneven process, in the sense that its activities and resources are rarely extended simultaneously across the totality of a region. Rather, intervening actors attempt to create bubbles or, quite literally, strongholds of "peaceful" space, quite often focused on capital cities and/or spaces perceived as flash points for violence.(1) In addition to acting as the "proper place,"(2) that is, the central base or focal point of these strategies, such peaceful spaces serve as emblems--and reassurances--of the success of a peace process.

Belfast's city center epitomizes this notion of "peaceful space." It is viewed as the physical embodiment of the success of Northern Ireland's "peace process" and a paragon of "retail-led" development. (3) It resembles high streets and shopping centers in "peaceful" cities around the world and creates the impression, for those visiting it, that Northern Ireland and its "troubled" past is far away. Yet, just beyond its grand facades, glittering glass domes and crowded pavements lie some of the city's most desolate landscapes. Many of these appear barren and abandoned: bereft of pedestrians, stained with "sectarian" graffiti, and scarred by the decaying artifices of empty lots and condemned buildings.

At first glance these spaces appear to be wastelands, gutted, and forgotten except to those presumed to be trapped there by personal circumstances. (4) It is generally assumed that these districts remain deprived due to the intensity of "low-level violence" that takes place in their streets, combined with government underinvestment. (5) Yet this part of Belfast has been a focal point for international peacebuilding strategies since the early 1990s, as promoted by such bodies as the Belfast City Council (BCC), the Belfast Regeneration Office (BRO), the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), the Department for Social Development (DSD), and the highly influential European Union Programmes for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE I, II, and III)--not to mention private developers engaged in the "regeneration" of deprived areas, often via public-private partnerships with local government bodies. These organizations have sponsored a range of strategies targeting key social, economic, and cultural "problems" associated with conflict and its ongoing "legacy." (6) By altering the physical, social, economic, and cultural environments of north Belfast, they have created a tangible "peaceful space" in the city center. At the same time, they have generated distinctive "outsides" textured by "interfaces" (points of contact between areas inhabited by different ethnic groups), enclaves, and complex patterns of conflict. Such spaces tend to be treated as a hinterland for the peacebuilding process and thus as the space into which its strategies must be extended in order to complete it. (7)

This article challenges the assumption that "conflict" degrades the spaces outside areas of "peaceful space" and that peacebuilding strategies ameliorate them. Instead, we argue that development and peacebuilding strategies have helped to create new contested, transitional, and liminal spaces in these areas: deterritorialized spaces whose status and ownership is indeterminate, in which the right of access and use is unclear, and in which the conditions created by constant and always incomplete transformation are used to justify intensive securitization and modes of control. We suggest that rather than an emancipatory approach, the transformation of such spaces can be a powerful mechanism of control. In examining several key local sites at which this tension is embodied in the landscape, we also challenge the nostrum that spaces left "undeveloped" or "incomplete" by international peacebuilding processes are in fact inert, wasted spaces simply waiting to be transformed. While there may not always be evidence of overt resistance to these strategies, the simple assertion of presence and occupation of space--through "tactical" acts and the creation of artifacts that reflect them--acts as a powerful mode of contesting the creation of "peaceful" space.

Methodology: "Walking" with de Certeau

Although this article focuses on the dynamics of large-scale (often international) strategies, the phenomena that we analyze take place at a micro scale. In order to explore the ground-level dynamics and everyday struggles involved in the fight over space in north Belfast, we sought to build upon a strong tradition of the ethnography of urban Northern Ireland (8) by adopting a methodology designed to maximize our exposure to the tactical forms of activity which are used to contest the strategies of peacebuilding. According to de Certeau, tactics are the everyday activities, such as walking, speaking, interacting, consuming, or moving through space, in which "everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others." (9) Even as they engage in the practices promoted by strategies, such as the consumption of goods, or the use of public services, people use tactics to challenge, subvert, or resist these logics by adapting them to uses unintended by their strategists. Tactics exist in the fleeting moments of "opportunity" seized by actors, (10) and thus they may be difficult to observe. However, in the case of urban space where conflict is played out, they leave visible traces, from spray-painted graffiti to patterns of movement to the manner in which invisible/ visible boundaries are erected and transgressed. (11)

In order to observe the evidence of such tactics, we adopted an approach that was itself tactical and capable of subverting the logics of "peaceful space": de Certeau's concept of "walking." From de Certeau's perspective, the act of walking allows one subtly to subvert strategies of control: although the very roads and pavements one traverses impose strategies of control and governance, the pattern in which one walks and the "poetics" of movement contest their structures and the way in which they attempt to constrain movement. (12) By walking--rather than, say, driving or remaining static in one place--one is also able to transgress certain boundaries and partitions of space created by the structures in question, for instance by moving between two neighborhoods or passing through a security gate.

We adopted the technique of walking (13) in order to place ourselves directly within the liminal spaces we examined--and to transgress the boundaries of the (pedestrianized) city center. Crucially, we walked through contiguous areas of north Belfast in order to gain a sense of this area as a continuous space or set of spaces, resisting the temptation to view it as a series of "bubbles" of more or less developed/securitized/governed space. For instance, it is common even for researchers or community workers to travel by bus or car to areas of north Belfast designated as "peaceful" (for instance, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action [NICVA] building on Duncairn Gardens) or "conflictual" (for instance, the Tigers Bay estate). In contrast, by undertaking our ethnographic walk, we deliberately diverged from such practices and traversed several neighborhoods and boundaries--whether those created through "sectarian" activities or by the fences and walls of development projects.

While undertaking our ethnographic walk, we collected data on the visual, semiotic, aesthetic, and physical aspects of everyday life inscribed on the physical landscape, and drew upon ethnographic knowledge gleaned from both authors' experience of living and researching in Belfast for a combined eight years. Our observations during the walk were also compared and triangulated with a number of interviews conducted with people living and working in north Belfast, undertaken by Audra Mitchell in the spring of 2010, and a range of primary and secondary materials, including policy documents (Figure 1).


Strategies of International Peacebuilding in Belfast

Peacebuilding is an assemblage of what Michel de Certeau might call "strategies": comprehensive, rationalizing logics of power appropriate their own space "from which relations with an exteriority composed of targets or threats ... can be managed." (14) These logics may be administrative, economic, security-oriented, related to social structures and interactions, or to public order. Crucially, in so ordering space, strategy "rejects the relevance of places it does not create" and frames those spaces which fall outside it as a "wasteland" which are, inevitably, to be enfolded in within the scope of ever more expansive strategies. (15) In this sense, we argue, the strategics of peaccbuilding designate certain spaces as "peaceful," and these spaces become the epicenters from which the exteriority mentioned by de Certeau--in this case, spaces marked by conflict, disorder, or "underdevelopment"-emanate.

In Northern Ireland, since the signing of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement (GF/BA) in 1998, such strategies have been "rolled out" by a range of local and international actors through initiatives to redevelop Belfast's economy and physical architecture (16); to regenerate its "derelict" spaces (17) to "re-image" areas marked by murals, flags, and other symbols (18); and to "transform" social interactions through the funding of a service-based voluntary sector committed to "reconciliation," social and economic development. (19) Although divergent in their specific goals and means of implementation, together these policies and approaches constitute a powerful set of strategies which target perceived causes of conflict and aim literally to build/rebuild "peaceful"--that is, secure, governable, and market-driven--spaces.

Even though the strategies discussed above are implemented at a localized level, they are an instrumental part of the broad international strategy of peacebuilding. Many of the strategies discussed are directly promoted by international actors, primarily the European Union in its various peacebuilding programs (PEACE I, II, III). Moreover, the ideals and norms of peacebuilding discussed here conform to the very model of peace-as-continuous development upon which in turn is derived from the standards of peacebuilding and "post-conflict" reconstruction promoted by large-scale actors such as the UN, the World Bank, and other international bodies, (20) as well as by a range of consultants, diplomats, and other "practitioners" who have helped to create pervasive norms of peace. As we shall argue, one of the major goals of intervention is to "re-take" space for this model of "peace" by extending its influence and scope, not only on a global level, but also within sites targeted for transformation. In the attempt to do so, international strategies of peacebuilding deliberately target the contested spaces created by (previous) disorder, conflict, or violence. Indeed, Northern Ireland and Belfast in particular have been used worldwide as examples of the successful creation of peaceful space: an exportable "template" for international peace-builders. (21) Now, we argue that in addition to creating "bubbles" of peaceful space, these strategies also help to create ambiguous, contested, liminal, and, indeed, conflictual spaces. In particular, we examine three major phenomena that contribute to this trend.

Deterhtorialization by means of Internationalization

First, "peaceful" spaces are rendered indeterminate by the deterritorialization (22) promoted through peacebuilding strategies and the actors (international organizations or their local "partners," such as municipal and regional government) that execute them. Deterritorialization involves the unhinging of spaces from their literal, physical landscapes, and local cultures, and their re-shaping through the imposition of new "codes" for how the spaces in question should be occupied and used. The "international" element of peace interventions is crucial in this respect: rather it has the effect of unanchor-ing the spaces in question from their local settings and rendering them generic spaces of "violence" or "conflict" to be transformed into "international" sites of peace. (23) Moreover, as Francois Debrix (24) comments, many "international" actors use their perceived neutrality and moral authority as a means to negate or even break down boundaries in order to create and occupy distinctive "humanitarian spaces" for their work. Developing this idea, we investigate how international strategies of peacebuilding de- and re-territorialize space by attempting to break down sociocultural and geographic boundaries such as the "interfaces" formed between neighborhoods occupied by members of different cultural or ethnic groups. We also draw on Debrix's (25) argument that among international actors, "[if] the cause is noble, the work is boundless"--that is, when international actors are perceived to be promoting a common good (such as "peace"), few limits are placed on the scope, degree, and width of their strategies--even when resistance from local actors is obvious, as in the case of the lower Shankill development project (see below).

Ambiguous Access and the "Right" to Peaceful Spaces

This ambiguity is compounded by ambiguous norms of ownership and the right to use. (26) They are often designed, structured, and administered by a combination of actors--including local authorities and police, regional government, and "international" donors such as the EU--whose decisionmaking processes take place far from the sites at which they are implemented. Moreover, "peaceful spaces" and the exterior spaces into which they extend are ambiguous in that they appear, in practice, to be neither fully private nor public; rather, they are made open largely to "the kind of people who populate architects' sketches." (27) In other words, everyone, in theory is welcomed into these spaces, but only insofar as they adopt the "peaceful" behaviors signaled through the design, and thus the suggested use, of the space; activities viewed as "conflictual," and the people engaging in them, are unwelcome. As our analysis below illustrates, the kinds of activities considered "nonpeaceful" or "conflictual" can vary greatly and according to context. For example, some of the young people interviewed for this project have been involved both in "community relations" projects between Catholic youth and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and in rioting at interface areas. Thus, on a given day, they may be allowed to gather in groups to attend a youth workshop in the city center, but, on the basis of their age and their association with local patterns of rioting, may not be allowed to gather for social purposes in the same space. We argue that the blurriness of the right of access to spaces like the city center--especially for young people--directly reflects this ambiguity. Simply put, by living in areas that are the target of transformation, such individuals are suspended in an ambivalent position, in which they are perceived as partially "peaceful"; as such, they may be allowed into "peaceful spaces," but only under certain conditions, one of which is surveillance and the constant threat of being "moved along."

The subtle and shifting norms of access that bound these spaces and help to securitize them have the effect of structuring them as "bubbles" insulated from the relatively less ordered space outside. In other words, they effectively "quarantine" (28) the places and people deemed "dangerous" or associated with the violent or conflictual activities of the past (and present). Indeed, violence and conflict are frequently referred to as pathologies in the discourses surrounding peacebuilding in Northern Ireland; for example, a banner posted on the south Belfast headquarters of the Nobel Peace Prize Winning "Peace People" nongovernment organization (NGO) reads, "Conflict is a preventable disease." The association of peace with the cultivation of desirable, healthy forms of life and of conflict and violence with disease (29) is reflected in the effects of the creation of "peaceful spaces," which are often constructed to exclude, protect against, and even destroy or replace spaces viewed as "breeding grounds" for conflict. Also relevant here is the metaphor of "weeding and seeding," (30) or the attempt to remove undesirable people or practices from space (weeding) and replace them with people and practices deemed conducive to "healthy" urban life (seeding). This approach is embodied in the attempts of governmental actors and donors in north Belfast to erase the evidence of violence and, simultaneously, implant "grassroots" organizations and projects that promote activities associated with peacebuilding--for instance, interethnic community groups or public art projects. In this sense, we argue the "peaceful spaces" created by international peace interventions are characterized not only by their positive attributes but also by the absences that they generate of people or activities associated with "conflict"--including individuals who engage in rioting, "interfacing," the defacement of public property, and the maintenance of patterns of division--all activities considered to be a blight on the "success" of the peace process.

Endless Transformation

Finally, the spaces directly surrounding bubbles of "peaceful space" and subject to its expansion remain permanently transitional due to the fact that strong incentives and trends militate against the completion of their "transformation." (31) Proponents of peacebuilding have a vested interest in never achieving this ideal (or completing the "transformation" of a site of violence), as they rely on the desire for an as-yet-unachieved state of affairs to maintain support for and conformity to their norms or projects. (32) In short, the meaning of the word "transformation" in the context of peacebuilding is not the simple conversion of an object from one state to another, but rather the conditions of perpetual alteration that are used to discipline and constrain volatile actors and spaces. The very processes used to transform "conflictual" actors or spaces are integral to the control and stability of these spaces; by keeping them in a constant state of flux, the strategies of peacebuilding absorb and constrain eruptions of violent or unpredictable behavior. For instance, in Duncaim Gardens (see below) strategies of development are highly visible even though the projects they promote seem to be permanently unfinished: temporary fences guard projected or abandoned construction projects, and boarded buildings with shattered windows sit adjacent to the freshly renovated offices of government-funded organizations. Yet, even in cases where a project is relatively "complete," many of these areas are occupied by organizations and structures that are designed to be temporary--for example, the headquarters of community organizations dependant on fixed-term funding. In this sense, these spaces remain suspended between their previous and intended states caught in the permanent limbo of "transformation."

From the perspective of international donors, governmental actors and developers, keeping volatile spaces and actors in constant flux can allow for an element of control: they may maintain barriers or walls around spaces that would otherwise be open to the public or justify the use of surveillance and policing not normally applied to residential neighborhoods (such as those in relatively "peaceful" south Belfast). This allows for the flexibility needed to maintain the edifice of control in areas that have traditionally fallen outside the direct control of the state and which may challenge the efficacy of the peace process. Moreover, creating the impression of permanent transformation allows governmental actors to appear as if they are making progress without having to complete projects for which funding evaporates, or which provoke local backlash. (33) As such, keeping "(soon-to-be) peaceful spaces" in a state of permanent transformation allows peace-builders to prevent their being used for "conflictual" purposes and thus claim them for future use while evading the imperative to finish their projects in the short term.

In addition, the peacebuilding processes that we discuss have become a local industry within the public and "voluntary" sectors, employing thousands of people in Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland for Voluntary Action, General Introduction). So, announcing the completion of the broad project of 'redevelopment' or peacebuilding would put many people out of a job. Moreover, in an increasingly competitive funding environment, those governmental and voluntary organizations seen to be working closest to "conflict" (that is, in neighborhoods that are deprived or sites of regular violence) are most likely to be prioritized for funding. While we emphatically do not mean to suggest that these individuals or organizations deliberately create the conditions of conflict or deprivation which they respond to, we argue that they must, on one hand, demonstrate the value of their work by creating peaceful space and on the other hand, ensure their continued existence by highlighting the ongoing conditions of "conflict" perceived as significant within peacebuilding processes. As a result, these spaces must be seen to be both "peaceful" and "violent," both "developed" and "deprived," both open to the right kinds of people and closed to those who would engage in violence, and constantly in the "process of transformation" toward an end that need never fully be achieved. We now explore how these characteristics are promoted through the expansion of "peaceful" spaces, starting in Belfast's city center and exploring three key sites that have been targeted for transformation.

Out from the Epicentre: Belfast City Center

Belfast's newly rebuilt city center exemplifies the model of "peaceful space" promoted through international peacebuilding strategies. First, it is a sight of intense securitization. Since it is intended to act as a neutral, "cosmopolitan" space, it is carefully policed and managed, especially around key events such as St. Patrick's Day, where police, municipal officials, and privately employed security guards carefully police the large crowds that gather for the celebration. (34) An example of the intensive securitization of such public events can be found in both authors' observation of the St. Patrick's Day festival in 2009, in which tricolor flags (the flag of the Republic of Ireland) carried by festival goers were confiscated by employees of the city council, only to be replaced by green shamrock flags produced by the municipality itself This ironic exchange--in which one symbol associated with Irish identity is replaced by another, deemed less "conflictual" for whatever reason--demonstrates how the spatial prohibitions in question extend not only to activities but even to the presence of unwanted symbols.

Second, the city center is a site of socioeconomic development; it is not only the center for shopping, tourism, and consumption but also the locus of some of the most intensive investment for redevelopment, for example the establishment of "quarters," at the last count there were (paradoxically) seven of these. Third, it is a site of governance in that it is regulated by a multitude of overlapping policies implemented by various levels of government, from those associated with infrastructure and utilities to those which govern the use of imagery and symbolism in public spaces. (35) Moreover, it is clearly viewed by its developers as the epicenter of the city, and the point from which the creation of "peaceful space" should originate. This is reflected in the literature describing the BCC's "Renewing The Routes" project. (36) According to the project's framers,
  ... arterial routes radiating from the city centre are key
  gateways and the lifeblood for the social and economic
  functioning of the city. Previously these once thriving
  locations supported their surrounding neighbourhoods but
  now require investment to tackle problems of economic,
  social, physical and environmental decline. By developing
  and implementing local regeneration plans the actions or
  interventions have secured local ownership and helped link
  wider regeneration activity. (37)

This quotation suggests that development and regeneration is expected to "radiate" from the city center and, simultaneously, frames the surrounding areas as hinterlands that are necessary to its continued economic development.

This is reflected in the city center's status as a major focus of redevelopment since 2009, slated to be completed in 2013. The project, delivered through a public-private partnership between the City Council and private developers, will involve investment of up to [pounds sterling]360 million. (38) According to the BCC, "The development is a 74,000 sqm mixed use, retailed regeneration scheme comprising 39,000sqm of retail space, 8,6000sqm office space, 240 apartments and 700 car park spaces." (39) The number of parking spaces reflects the large amount of car traffic anticipated and also promotes the expectation that shoppers should drive in order to enter the city center. We explore this idea below by describing how the redevelopment of Belfast's urban space encourages residents to travel between "bubbles" of "peaceful space" by car so as to avoid contact with the apparent wastelands that lie outside.

The strategy of redevelopment/development is also exemplified by Victoria Square, a modern [pounds sterling] 320 m shopping center opened in 2008. Just north of this site lies the target, a multimillion pound regeneration program, now known as "Cathedral Quarter." The plan to revitalize this part of the city has been contested through protests by local residents under the umbrella of the Community Arts Forum. (40) Moreover, it is possible to see traces of that which the strategy of regeneration has overwritten. According to the local city planning expert Brendan Murtagh, (41) this neighborhood was traditionally known as the "Half Bap" before it was rechristened the "Cathedral Quarter" in line with the City Council's post-peace agreement development plans. Here, a small local historical society has begun erecting "alternative" plaques (vis-a-vis the "official" blue plaques) detailing the local history of this district as a means of reclaiming, or at least reasserting, its heritage. Likewise, slightly further north is the now-abandoned community of "Sailortown": once populated by "5,000 souls" there are just three houses left in the neighborhood, effectively "Sailortown" only exists in the historical memory kept alive by the "Sailortown Cultural and Historical Society." (42) The germ of its decline was sowed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the establishment of the Belfast Ring Road, (43) created to improve vehicular access to the city center, a forerunner of the "Renewing The Routes" scheme. These traces of vanished urban communities provide a glimpse of the forms of social life that the creation of "peaceful space" in the city center has overwritten through the economic development of the city center. We now explore how this pattern is being reproduced by the targeting of "conflictual" spaces to be transformed into 'peaceful' ones through strategies of peacebuilding at three key sites.

Filling Peaceful Spaces: Cityside Retail Development and Duncairn Gardens

Just beyond Belfast's city center, two adjacent spaces reflect the effects of deterritorialization and permanent transformation: Cityside Retail Park and Duncairn Gardens. These sites, we argue, are examples of the strategy of "filling space" to exclude conflictual actors or activities-for instance, the bonfires or riots that often take place in open urban spaces-and "reserve" this space for "peaceful" activities. (44)

Cityside Retail Park is a complex of shops located at one of the most notorious "interfaces" in north Belfast. The area marks the boundary line between the Catholic New Lodge and Protestant Tigers Bay and has been (and still is) a site of significant rioting. Cityside's modern design is a clear and deliberate attempt to signal the redevelopment of the area by directly imitating the aesthetics and style of shopping centers and high streets in Britain and around the world. In short, it has the hallmark of international development: it could be anywhere. As such, it contrasts sharply with the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood, where much of the housing stock remains dilapidated and structured around "sectarian" lines (see below).

The complex was built in order to provide convenient shopping facilities, but not necessarily to local residents: the pedestrian routes leading to it are precarious and abut a major arterial road. Instead, the site is almost exclusively accessed by car and thus appears to cater largely to residents from other parts of the city. In addition, it is closed off from both New Lodge and Tigers Bay by a large fence, making it possible to enter and exit the complex without being exposed to the surrounding neighborhoods. Murtagh describes this activity as "bubbling": according to him "people live in ... their residential bubbles, and then they get in their cars and they go along these protected highways into other bubbles So they just travel from bubble to bubble. And it's sanitized, and they don't see poor people, they don't see flags or graffiti." (45) In this sense, Cityside acts as a sort of "noplace," which does not seem to fit within, or interact with, its local surroundings and their residents. Instead, it constructs as a bubble of deterritorialized "international" or "peaceful" space and safely cordoned off from its "conflictual" and "deprived" surroundings.

The presence of the walls and fences that define this area also have a function in maintaining its ambiguity: they render it unclear as to whom the complex was built for or to whom access should be granted. The site on which the development was built is a frequent locus for disorder, particularly during the summer months. (46) The barriers described above were erected in order to protect the development, not local residents; indeed, the creation of these walls effectively pushes rioting away from the parking lot and into the neighboring residential areas, so that the latter will absorb the majority of the damage caused. These privately constructed barriers also reproduce the "sectarian architecture" (47) of the area, which includes the physical separation of each neighborhood by a number of security barriers erected by governmental actors. The reproduction of these boundaries is also reflected in how the site is accessed by those residents who do use it. According to local development experts, one entrance is monopolized by pedestrians from New Lodge, the other by residents of Tigers Bay. Thus, although the shopping center is intended to act as a site of neutral activity (consumption) and intermingling, patterns of local segregation are reproduced by how locals enter and exit. This is a subtle, tactical practice used to maintain the liminality of the space: rather than allowing it to be fully "transformed" into a generic "neutral" shopping center, residents of the area have inscribed parallel spaces within it by reproducing patterns of usage and movement that reflect their daily lives, including ongoing conflict. Thus, although spaces of consumption are intended to act as sites of "neutral" interaction between different ethnic groups, (48) the architecture of the Cityside site, and its tactical utilization by local residents serves to cement and reproduce the architectural and spatial features that have traditionally characterized the area.

Just west of Cityside lies Duncaim Gardens a road which, during the Troubles and up until recently, acted as an artery for the riots and disorder that erupted between New Lodge and Tigers Bay. This history is reflected in a pair of twenty-foot high "peace walls" that line both sides of the street. These barriers effectively divide the two neighborhoods, and access into each is highly restricted and controlled through a small number of security gates (three into New Lodge and two into Tigers Bay). Formerly a "shatter zone" (an area of housing stock abandoned by residents as a result of constant damage to their property), this road has now been re-developed as the central hub for NGOs associated with peacebuilding in Belfast. The NICVA, an umbrella organization for hundreds of voluntary groups, is the centerpiece of this street and an emblem of this development process.

The NICVA building is the site of many of the consultations and meetings used to legitimate and provide "inputs" into governmental policies and those of international funders. (49) Its shape and architecture is telling: designed in a modern, metal-and-glass aesthetic similar to Cityside, it is a massive building guarded by high walls of corrugated metal, with its lower windows barred to protect them from stones and other small missiles often thrown during riots. It more closely resembles a military barracks or a warehouse business site than a typical NGO office. Although the organizations that work within it are technically tasked with meeting the needs of local communities throughout Northern Ireland, this building is clearly designed to be welcoming primarily to members of the professional "voluntary sector" rather than local residents. The composition of the rest of Duncaim Gardens mirrors this: the buildings which have been "regenerated" are occupied either by NGOs or governmental offices, including Groundwork, the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR) and Community Northern Ireland (NI) (others remain empty and dilapidated). Several of the other sites that line the street and abut the "peace walls" have been marked for redevelopment, as indicated by the presence of large, purple signs reading: "Site Acquired for Regeneration. Belfast Regeneration Office." Thus, the street is populated not by the houses or shops that compose a typical neighborhood in the area, but rather by a collection of NGOs, governmental offices, and sites marked for future redevelopment but as yet not under construction.

By "filling" Duncaim Gardens with offices--perceived to be "neutral," deterritorialized, and reflective of international ideals of peacebuilding--and marking several of its empty lots for future redevelopment projects, the space has been strategically "weeded and seeded" (50) of its "conflictual past" and of the people who would use it for conflictual activities. However, the objects and organizations with which it has been filled are temporary by design: the voluntary sector in Northern Ireland was built largely under the auspices and direction of the European Union's Programmes for Peace and Reconciliation, the last tranche of which expires in 2013, (51) and the unsustainability of much of this sector has been a frequent topic of discussion. (52) Thus, although the voluntary sector has provided full-time jobs for a distinct "peacebuilding industry" over the past two decades, it was designed for obsolescence and impermanence. Indeed, the goal of the peace process was to transform away the conditions upon which these organizations are focused. At the same time, however, those who work in these organizations have a vested interest in maintaining these spaces as lim-inal--that is, as being in permanent need of transformation. By highlighting aspects of conflict or "unpeaceful" activity in the locality, these organizations can be seen to be transforming the area, and thus justifying their continued presence (and financial support). It is not a coincidence that a great deal of governmental consultation and NGO-based community work has recently been taking place in local "interface" areas known for their histories of disorder, such as Tigers Bay, (53) as funding begins to dry up. This is one of the ironies of this use of the space: on one hand, promoters of peacebuilding are pressured to show the "success" of their efforts by erasing evidence of conflict; but on the other, they must use this evidence to secure their own futures.

Ironically, in attempting to fill spaces traditionally used for conflictual acts, the two sites discussed above have in fact entrenched these and provided a new and concrete medium for them. Despite the presence of neutral developments in the area for almost twenty years, since Cityside was redeveloped, this area is still a "flash point" for rioting between people from both of the enclaves. Rioting is one of the most important tactical uses of space that occurs in this area. According to young people who have taken part in these activities, or know people who have, this rioting is not necessarily associated with violence, or with interethnic resentment. (54) Nor, however, should it be reduced to mere "recreation," as some analysts suggest, (55) or an unthinking response to boredom. (56)

The young people interviewed by Audra Mitchell perceived rioting to be both part of the traditions they grew up with and a rite of passage. (57) They suggested that rioting was not a simple act of disobedience, but rather that it involves a complex mix of motivations. These include the desire for excitement but also the ability to access local collective memories of repression and protest and to engage in rebellion, contestation, and the testing of authority, whether that of the police, local paramilitary actors, or other young people living in the area. For instance, they mentioned the manner in which young girls provoke each other across a local interface to see whether and how their boyfriends might respond by fighting as a means of "defending" them. (58) In this case, the young people in question were able to test their own social relations, their ability to gather a crowd and mobilize a riot, their capacity to stake and defend space, and their ability to undermine the local power structures that constrain their behavior (largely, the police and local branches of paramilitary organizations).

Similarly, graffiti found on the gates and walls plays a similar role: it converts these barriers, erected to erase the evidence of conflict or prevent its eruption into interactive mediums for conveying "sectarian" messages, which provide coded information about the interactions between local youth. This occurs in particular when a message left by one party is altered (and often subverted) by another. We observed this on one of the security gates in Duncaim Gardens, on the Tigers Bay side of the "peace" wall. The original spray-painted message in red reads "UTH [Up the Huns (Protestant)] Michael KAT [Kill All Taigs (Catholics)] T. Bay [Tigers Bay] 2008." On top of this, in black paint, the KAT has been crossed out to read KAH (Kill All Huns) and F (presumably meaning Fuck) has been put in front of "T. Bay." The original message has not been obliterated; rather, it has been left intact, but subverted in such a way as to reverse its meaning and to provoke the original writer to respond. Ironically, the use of acronyms representing paramilitary groups or youth gangs mirrors the prevalence of acronyms on the signs of NGOs and governmental offices in the nearby area--for instance, Department of Social Development, Northern Ireland (DSDNI), Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), Belfast Regeneration Office(BRO), EU Programmes for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE), and so on. Both of these examples attest to the deterritoralized nature of the space: it is so unclear as to who "owns" the space or what the space is "for" that it is continually marked and signposted by the multiple groups that lay claim to it.

This graffiti uses the liminality of these spaces tactically in more than one sense. First, as mentioned above, it uses the walls, fences, poles, and other objects erected to prevent and erase evidence of conflict as a medium for playing it out. At the same time, it challenges the way in which the strategies of peacebuilding have effectively cemented in place interfaces and boundaries that were previously intangible, malleable, and which changed in response to localized events--for instance, the injury of an individual at a certain street comer or the results of a riot. (59) By using these walls, barriers and developments as mediums for graffiti, these actors challenge the effectiveness of the barriers preventing their tactical acts. Indeed, many of the messages described above are written on the "other side of the wall" than that from which the graffitist originates. By writing insulting or vaguely threatening messages intended to be read by those on the other side, these actors illustrate the permeability of the barriers in question and their continuing ability to transgress and redefine these barriers through their tactical activities.

"Belfast's Big Brother": Limestone Road Surveillance Cameras

The Limestone Road area marks the northern boundary of Tigers Bay and its interface with the mainly Catholic area of Newington. It is a target for intensive surveillance due to its history as a locus for rioting. Evidence of surveillance in this area is rife, although sometimes subtle. The Community Relations Council states that 44 cameras were introduced in interface areas since 2002; according to this source, "initially there was considerable opposition to the cameras and in some cases they were physically attcked and damaged. However, since that time the cameras have become an "established feature of the geography of interface areas." (60)

The use of these surveillance cameras is a powerful means of engendering strategic control. It lends the area an air of uncanniness; it is clear that it is highly securitized, but it is unclear to what extent and to what end. The structure of the surveillance equipment reflects this; the cameras are mounted quite high and angled down upon the street, reinforcing the position of power held by the unidentified surveillor. This also enhances the sense of deterritorialization--the surveillor is anonymous, distant, and operates "from above" and outside the site in question. Indeed, although we are told later by respondents that these are police cameras, there is no sign or label to identify them as such or to explain the rationale behind their presence; they could just as easily be privately or cor-porately owned cameras intended to deter theft (many such cameras can be found mounted on the sides of shops in the nearby city center). From street level, therefore, the pavements and roads appear open to the public--if relatively deserted and dilapidated--but the presence of the multiheaded cameras on their tall, imposing poles engender a pervasive sense of impending disorder (and its punishment). The very structures and functions of these mechanisms act as artifacts of past and future (or predicted) violence. (61)

Young people who live in the area described the eerie feeling of being surveilled in this manner. They believe these cameras are used primarily to target certain individuals involved in rioting, often after the fact: "if they [the police] can't get them on the night, they'll come back and get them whenever they can." (62) Indeed, they claimed that police would often provoke or tease young people whom they believed were "bad kids" on the street, possibly on the basis of having seen surveillance footage of them or simply suspecting them of being involved in rioting. Those respondents claimed, however, that the security provided by such surveillance did not benefit them in return: "if something happens in the street, and the police just don't want to be annoyed--[they'll say] the cameras weren't on at that time. But the cameras are on 24/7." (63) They also described the feeling of being watched by these cameras, which they claimed was "like being on Big Brother ... you can actually maybe tell what people are talking about. They can see everything, but they don't see what they don't want to see." (64) Ironically, these respondents (most of whom live on or near the Limestone Road and travel down it regularly) gained their firsthand insight into the workings of the security cameras by taking part in a PSNI-sponsored outreach program in which they were encouraged to view surveillance footage from these cameras--thus, in a sense, surveilling themselves. (65) This illustrates the fact that the act of surveillance is deliberately liminal in that its use and purpose remains undefined and changeable (even, in this case, reversible). From the perspective of these respondents, it is used to implement the law in an uneven way: they can be punished for breaking it, but do not feel as if they are protected when the police or other residents harm or threaten them. In this sense, the state and its disciplinary power is both present and not present: it appears only when its rules are broken and recedes again once it has imposed order. (66) The inconsistency and unevenncss of the form of discipline promoted by surveillance, then, compounds the sense of liminality that pervades this space.

Yet the liminality of the space is also used tactically, in particular by young people who live in the area. In many cases, the physical structures and functional aspects of the cameras are used ironically to challenge the disciplinary implications of their presence. An example of this can be found in the graffiti written on cameras located on the Limestone Road which reads FTBIS (Fuck the British Intelligence Service) and UTH (Up the Hoods--an expression to describe and used by young people involved in "antisocial" behavior). By inscribing such phrases literally on the surveillance equipment, the writers of the graffiti test the limits of surveillance by seeing what they can get away with without being caught on camera or being "lifted" (arrested) by the police. Ironically, perhaps, they are the only actors explicitly to lay claim on these structures in the absence of clear signposting by governmental or police actors.

Moreover, young people from the area recall collecting materials such as milk bottles to help prepare petrol bombs and paint bombs, the remnants of which we observe in and around the security cameras. (67) The act of leaving these items strewn around the site subverts the purpose of surveillance: it uses visual evidence of potential, or past, transgression to taunt the surveillor. In other cases, however, this tactic is used more directly. For instance, (young) people often contest the placement of these cameras by breaking them with stones or wearing hoodies over their faces so that they cannot be identified in footage. (68) In addition, these young people have become adept at estimating the amount of time between the beginning of the riot and the time it takes the police to arrive on the scene, allowing them to engage in rioting and then disappear before they are caught. (69) In this manner, they briefly occupy the streets, using the tactics of sudden appearance and disappearance to challenge the boundaries and capacities of state power. (70) This tactical use of liminal space-one which can be briefly occupied and quickly deserted-allows the groups in question to challenge the efficacy of cameras and surveillance in general. In such cases, the cameras can only record the evidence of riots, disorder or "antisocial behavior," without necessarily deterring it, enforcing order, or even identifying the actors involved. This has the double effect of defying surveillance and, at the same time, using the strategy against itself to provide evidence of the massive difficulty of governing tactical acts.

Unfinished Business: The Lower Shankill Development Site

On the lower Shankill Road a site is fenced off (obscuring it from the view of local residents and pedestrians) for a yet-to-be constructed luxury property development-one the first on the road for a number of years. (71) Many such sites around the outskirts of the Belfast city center have been targeted for development because of their proximity to it. The site in question was part of a major drive for development that took place in the early 2000s in Belfast, in which a number of deprived areas in the inner city were to be "gentrified" for use as a means of housing the individuals employed within the city center, and thus, in turn, supporting its development and expansion. Because of their recent histories of violence and depopulation, investment in these projects was relatively inexpensive for developers. (72) Likewise, from a strategic point of view, the high levels of deprivation and frequent episodes of disorder in these areas render them a blight on the "peaceful space" of the nearby city center. Thus, they have become primary targets for "transformation" or redevelopment.

It is important to note that this particular space was used, until it was cordoned off for development, as one of the main "Eleventh Night" bonfires in the area. These bonfires, held on the eve of the major Protestant celebration of the "Twelfth" (held on July 12), are traditional acts of "festival" or "carnival," (73) in which residents living in loyalist or unionist communities spend weeks collecting materials and constructing large bonfires, often placing a tricolor (the flag of the Republic of Ireland) at the top, before burning them. Although they appear "sectarian" in nature, these bonfires tend to be viewed not primarily as sites for interethnic conflict, but rather for the temporary overturning of public order (74) and are seen largely as challenges related to control and regulation on the part of local statutory bodies. (75) However, they are also a matter of concern vis-a-vis the overall strategies of peacebuilding; for instance, violence which erupted around the 2010 "Eleventh Night" celebrations in the city received significant international and UK news coverage, the tone of which tended to imply a threat to the peace process. (76) As such, there is a vested strategic interest in controlling bonfires, not only through regulation programs such as those promoted by the BCC, (77) but also by restricting or controlling the places in which these rituals (78) regularly occur.

It should also be noted that this location also has a well-established history as a site for protest against development strategies. During the 1970s, it was the locus for the highly effective "Save the Shankill" campaign, (79) which contested the demolition of a number of streets and neighborhoods in the area. This campaign ultimately influenced the decision-making process, resulting in the nonuse of a number of sites along the Shankill Road for development. This space was then, as Mitchell's (80) discussion of the use of public space suggests, claimed for and not despite its liminality. Specifically, although local actors have claimed it, like strategic actors, they have not filled the space with an alternative object (for instance, a community center of public park) instead they have kept it open for the possibility of everyday liminal acts.

In the present day, a new struggle over the liminality of this area is visible. The walls which divide the development site from the street have been used as a medium upon which to project messages of protest at the general plans for regeneration along the Shankill Road. These antidevelopment slogans, literally inscribed on the walls that prevent the messengers from entering the space, employ ironic tactics to undercut the purpose of these structures. The graffiti written across one wall reads: "we need housing, not yuppie apartments!!!," and on the other side: "regeneration, not gentrification," "meet our need, not developers' greed." There is also some graffiti referring to the Historical Enquiries Tribunal (an independent body which is systematically reviewing all police investigations into Troubles-related fatalities), suggesting that the process has been one sided because it has not, to date, focused upon high-profile cases involving republican paramilitary organizations. Amid this writing specific reference is made to Gerry Adams (leader of Sinn Fein) and his alleged paramilitary past. (81)
  Murtagh comments on this graffiti:

  I thought it was one of the most interesting and positive
  pieces of graffiti I've ever seen in Belfast. Because instead
  of King Billy (King William of Orange) ... or the Unionist
  administration or the state, or the DUP (Democratic Unionist
  Party) ... this is actually a statement about location, a
  process where somebody's saying "this is what's happening"
  ... [The developers are] redefining those sorts of spaces for
  elite people, for property markets, But [the protest is] doomed
  to failure. The only reason it wasn't built is because of the
  property market collapsing. (82)

However, a local resident we interviewed suggested that the cessation of the development had also been heavily influenced by the intervention of local paramilitaries. (83) These actors, too, have a strategic interest in keeping the area from the direct control of the government in order to maintain their own localized forms of power and order in communities where the effective control of the state and police is weak. (84)

Thus, the ambiguous and contested status of this space is not simply by virtue of the fact that it has been left unfinished as a result of the failure of development. Rather, it lies in the fact that the site has been maintained in its current state, fenced off from the public, and still displaying the logos of the developers, seemingly in defiance of the protests and bonfires that have traditionally taken place there. Moreover, the wall boasts a computer-generated image of the luxury apartments that were intended to be built there, as if to maintain the promise (or threat) of redevelopment, yet postponing this vision of developmental transformation into an ever-receding future. Most importantly, perhaps, the site is still secured by tall walls in order to prevent its being used for bonfires and other large public gatherings. As such, its structures prevent its use for specific kind of activities without actually rendering possible the intended activities (inhabitation). This exemplifies each of the key characteristics of sites targeted for transformation into "peaceful space": it deterritorializes the space by cutting it off from its localized setting and claiming it as a space for development based on international trends in housing prices. It cordons off unsightly spaces and imposes a particular Utopian ideal upon them (the creation of desirable, luxury housing); and it maintains the image of progress toward this ideal although its completion is (most likely permanently) postponed.


Just as peace takes space, it also makes (at least) two distinct kinds of space. First, it creates bubbles of "peaceful space" which become the epicenters from which strategies of transformation are extended into their hinterlands: spaces marked as "conflictual." Second, in creating such spaces, these strategies generate "exteriorities," which remain in a state of permanent transition, ambiguity, and contestation. Thus, at the same time as they strive to securitize, govern, and develop "conflicted" spaces, peacebuilding strategies and their proponents create "conditions of disintegration and conflict which they seek to eradicate, thus becoming agents of distress rather than of revitalization." (85)

Yet, as barren and desolate as the "exteriorities" of peaceful space might seem, they are not the passive products of rampant development--or, on the other hand, underdevelopment and the failure of the "peace process." Rather, they exemplify active conflict at the "interface" between local and international imperatives of peacebuilding. (86) From this perspective, the tactical acts we have described above are not merely criminal acts (87) but attempts to engage with public space and agency in ways that do not directly reproduce the norms of participation promoted through peacebuilding strategies. (88) In this area of north Belfast, opportunities for formal political participation are largely restricted to "consultations," or formal discussions between governmental actors, NGOs representing specific "clients" or "beneficiaries" from among local residents, or, in some cases, a number of residents themselves. (89) Outside of this, participation is limited largely to consuming the services, activities, or spaces created by the policies in question and thus reproducing them.

Several of the phenomena described above suggest alternative means of contesting the use of space, and in particular, the transformation of "conflictual" spaces into "peaceful ones." However, they do not fit the model of "formal, democratic" participation and consultation described above, nor, in every case, can they be considered active, intentional resistance against the peacebuilding process itself. (90) By simply using and occupying space in tactical ways unintended by strategists of peacebuilding, the actors in question make subtle but powerful statements about how this space is viewed, valued, and (should be) used. Beyond the "ephemeral" tactics described by de Certeau, these actors also create artifacts--graffiti, scorch marks left by bonfires, broken glass and paint marks left after riots--that attest to their presence even when tactical acts of passed. These simple assertions of presence, or the capacity to be present, contest the closure and instrumentalization of these spaces for the purpose of peacebuilding. In so doing, they protect and preserve their own threatened, local worlds against the rapid and often disruptive transformations brought by peacebuilding strategies. (91) Ironically, perhaps, the sudden and rapid transformations through which peacebuilding was "delivered" in north Belfast have reframed some elements associated with the Troubles (for instance, "sectarian" uses of space and rioting) as footholds within swiftly disappearing worlds; thus, for some local actors, their continuation appears to be an important way of maintaining a grip on the history and locality of their communities. As such, these everyday acts, whether or not intended explicitly acts of resistance to peacebuilding, highlight the disjuncture between the interpretations of space for policy makers and those for whom the policy is made.

Paying attention to the literal messages conveyed through the use of space, "peaceful," and otherwise could significantly impact upon policy how "problems" are framed and policy decisions formed. For instance, as discussed above, it is often assumed that the sites described here are characterized by ethnic or intercommunal conflict--that is, conflict between Catholics and Protestants. Yet according to our analysis, much of the conflict in these spaces arises not from "ethnic conflict" but rather from the confrontation between international strategies of peacebuilding and everyday uses and interpretations of space. Moreover, we have suggested that much of this conflict arises from the fact that local residents and the spaces they occupy remain suspended in a liminal state--partially transformed, on the border between intensely localized and "internationalized" spaces, highly securitized but viewed as disorderly. In such conditions, the tactical activities described above no longer appear as blind resistance to change, nor as recidivistic tendencies toward conflict; rather, they appear to be perhaps the only rational way for residents of such spaces to occupy the multiple and ambiguous worlds which the expansion of peacebuilding strategies have created. This suggests that any peace intervention based on the creation of "peaceful" spaces must carefully consider what it displaces and the dangers of starting processes of transformation that cannot, or will not, be completed. It also suggests that while explicit acts of resistance to and subversion of peace processes are valuable indicators of contestation, they are not the only means. Rather, some of the most radical tactics of contesting "peaceful spaces" and their transformation are the simple activities through which people make and inhabit the spaces that constitute their worlds.


The authors wish to thank Jeffrey Murer, Milena Komarova, Brendan Murtagh, two anonymous reviewers, and Rob Walker for their input into this article. In particular, we wish to thank one of our anonymous reviewers for the title and helpful advice in reframing our arguments.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure/Funding

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


(1.) See, Beatrice Pouligny, Peace Operations Seen From Below: UN Missions and Local People (London: C. Hurst and Co., 2006).

(2.) Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (Berkeley, CA and London: University of California Press, 1984).

(3.) Belfast City Council, '"Regeneration in Belfast--Royal Exchange," accessed April 8, 2010,

(4.) Michelle Hand (Belfast City Council Equality and Diversity Officer) personal interview with Audra Mitchell, February 10,2010.

(5.) North Belfast Community Action Project, "Report of the Project Team" (2002): 11, accessed April 8, 2010,

(6.) Peter Shirlow and Brendan Murtagh, Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City (London: Pluto, 2006).

(7.) Belfast City Council, "Re-Imaging Communities Project" (2010), accessed April 8, 2010,

(8.) See, Dominic Bryan, Orange Parades: The Politics of Ritual Tradition and Control (London: Pluto, 2000); Frank Burton, The Politics of Legitimacy: Struggles in a Belfast Community (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978); Neil Jarman, Material Conflicts: Parades and Visual Displays (Oxford: Berg, 1997); John Nagle, "Challenging Ethno-national Division: New Social Movements in Belfast," Social Movement Studies 7, no. 3 (2008): 305-26; Rosellen Roche, Facts, Fears and Feelings Project: The Impact of Sectarianism in Everyday Life (Belfast: Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, 2008); Thomas M. Wilson and Hastings Donnan, The Anthropology of Ireland (Oxford: Berg, 2006).

(9.) de Certeau, note 2, xii.

(10.) Ibid., 30.

(11.) Ibid., 127.

(12.) Ibid., 93.

(13.) See, Tim Ingold and Joe Lee Vergunst, eds., Ways of Walking. Ethnography and Practice on Foot (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008); Rob Shields, Places on the Margin: Alternative Geographies of Modernity (London: Routledge, 1991).

(14.) de Certeau, note 2, xix, 36.

(15.) Ibid., 94, 201.

(16.) Shirlow and Murtagh, note 6; Laganside Corporation, "Regeneration" (2007), accessed April 8, 2010,

(17.) Department of Social Development, "Neighbourhood Renewal: People and Place" (2005), accessed April 8, 2010,

(18.) Belfast City Council, note 7; Dominic Bryan and Gordon Gillespie, Transforming Conflict: Flags and Emblems (Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 2005).

(19.) See, European Union, PEACE III: Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland, 2007-13 (Brussels: European Union, 2008); Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, "Strategic plan, 2009-12" (2009), accessed April 8, 2010,

(20.) Mark Duffield, Development, Security and Unending War (Cambridge: Polity, 2007); Roland Paris, At War's End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Oliver P. Richmond and Jason Franks, Liberal Peace Transitions: Between Statebuilding and Peacebuilding (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).

(21.) See, Robin Wilson, The Northern Ireland Experience of Conflict and Agreement: A Model for Export? (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).

(22.) Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus (Capitalism and Schizophrenia) (London: Continuum, 2004).

(23.) Richmond and Franks, note 20.

(24.) Frangois Debrix, "Deterritorialized Territories, Borderless Borders: The New Geography of International Medical Assistance," Third World Quarterly 19, no. 5 (1998): 835.

(25.) Ibid., 833

(26.) See, Don Mitchell, The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space (New York and London: The Guilford Press, 2003).

(27.) David Sibley, Geographies of Exclusion (London: Routledge, 1995), xi.

(28.) Tim Cress we 11, "Weeds, Plagues and Bodily Secretions: A Geographical Interpretation of Metaphors of Displacement," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87, no. 2 (1997): 337.

(29.) Johan Galtung, Peace by Peaceful Means (London: Sage, 1996).

(30.) Cresswell, note 28.

(31.) See, Audra Mitchell, "Conflict-w-Transformation: Phenomenology, Ethics and the Critique of the Liberalizing Peace," International Peacekeeping 17 (2009): 667-84; Audra Mitchell, Lost in Transformation: Violent Peace, Peaceful Conflict and Plural World-Building in Northern Ireland (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011).

(32.) Audra Mitchell, "Quality/control: The "Everyday" in International Interventions," Review of International Studies (2011).

(33.) Martin McDermott and Michael McAvoy, personal interview with Audra Mitchell, January 18, 2010; Chris O'Halloran (Belfast Interface Project), personal interview with Audra Mitchell and Liam Kelly January 26, 2010.

(34.) Hand, see note 4.

(35.) Hazel Francey (Manager, Good Relations Unit, Belfast City Council), personal interview with Audra Mitchell, February 8, 2010; Hand, Note 4.

(36.) Belfast City Council, "Renewing the Routes Programme" (2009), accessed April 8, 2010,

(37.) Ibid, 2.

(38.) Belfast City Council, note 7.

(39.) Belfast City Council, note 3.

(40.) Community Relations Council, "Towards Sustainable Security: Interface Barriers and the Legacy of Segregation in Belfast" (2009), accessed April 8 2010,

(41.) Brendan Murtagh (Queen's University of Belfast), personal interview with Audra Mitchell, February 9, 2010.

(42.) Paul McLaughlin, Paul, "A Personal History of Sailortown," Sailortown Cultural and Historical Society (2009), accessed April 8, 2010,


(44.)McDermott and McAvoy, note 33.

(45.) Murtagh, note 41.

(46.) McDermott and McAvoy, note 33.

(47.) Hand, see note 4.

(48.) "Victoria Square set for opening," BBC Report, March 5, 2008, accessed April 8, 2010,

(49.) Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, note 19.

(50.) Cresswell, note 28.

(51.) European Union, note 19.

(52.) Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, Designing PEACE III(Belfast: Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, 2009).

(53.) O'Halloran, note 33.

(54.) Group Interview with Young People from North Belfast (names withheld), personal interview with Audra Mitchell, February 7, 2010.

(55.) Neil Jarman and Chris O'Halloran, "Recreational Rioting: Young People, Interface Areas and Violence," Child Care in Practice 7 (2001): 2-16; Nicola Farrell (Youth Worker in North Belfast, personal interview with Audra Mitchell, February 7, 2010.

(56.) K. Leathern, "North Belfast Interface Network-Social Return on Investment Report" (2008), accessed April 8, 2010,

(57.) Group Interview, note 54.

(58.) Ibid.

(59.) O'Halloran, note 33.

(60.) Community Relations Council, note 40, 21.

(61.) See, Veena Das, Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

(62.) Group Interview, note 54.

(63.) Ibid.

(64.) Ibid.

(65.) Ibid.

(66.) Das, note 61.

(67.) Group Interview, note 54.

(68.) Jarman and O'Halloran, note 55.

(69.) Group Interview, note 54.

(70.) See, Begona Aretxaga, ed. by Joseba Zulaika, States of Terror; The Essays of Begona Aretxaga (Reno: Centre for Basque Studies, 2005).

(71.) "Mixed reception to luxury flats," BBC Report, May 17, 2007, accessed April 8, 2010,

(72.) Laganside Corporation, note 16.

(73.) See Bryan and Nagle, note 8.

(74.) Marc Howard Ross, Cultural Contestation in Ethnic Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

(75.) Francey, note 35.

(76.) "No cause, no excuse just brutal insanity," Belfast Telegraph, July 13, 2010.

(77.) Francey, note 35.

(78.) See, Ross, note 74.

(79.) Author Unknown, "History of the Shankill Road," (n.d.), accessed April 8, 2010,

(80.) Mitchell, note 32.

(81.) Ed Moloney, Voices from the grave: Two Men 's War in Ireland (London: Faber & Faber, 2010).

(82.) Murtagh 2010, note 41.

(83.) Jackie [Surname withheld] (Belfast Taxi Driver), personal interview with Audra Mitchell and Liam Kelly, February 11,2010.

(84.) See, Mitchell, note 31.

(85.) We quote here from the careful and insightful comments of one of our reviewers.

(86.) See, Oliver P. Richmond and Audra Mitchell, eds., Hybrid Forms of Peace: From the 'Everyday' to Post Liberalism (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011).

(87.) Mitchell, note 31.

(88.) Roland Bleiker, "Visualizing post-national democracy," in The New Pluralism: William Connolly and the Contemporary Global Condition, eds. David Campbell and Morton Schoolman (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

(89.) European Union, note 51; O'Halloran, note 33; Hand, note 4.

(90.) See, Richmond and Franks, note 20.

(91.) See, Mitchell, note 31.


Audra Mitchell is Lecturer in International Relations in the department of Politics at the University of York, UK. She is the author of Lost in Transformation: Violent Peace and Peaceful Conflict in Northern Ireland (Palgrave, 2011), coeditor (with Oliver Richmond) of Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post Liberalism (Palgrave, 2011), and author of recent articles in Review of International Studies, Millennium, International Peacekeeping, Alternatives and other journals. She is currently completing a new monograph on secularity and the cosmology of international intervention.

Liam Kelly holds a PhD in Irish Studies from the Queen's University of Belfast. He has recently been involved in number of research projects based in the Institute of Irish Studies, QUB, on public space in the city of Belfast. His doctoral research was on spatial dynamics of rioting in late 1960s Belfast.

(1) Department of Politics, University of York, UK

(2) Institute of Irish studies, Queen's University of Belfast, UK

Corresponding Author:

Audra Mitchell, Department of Politics, University of York, UK


Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

36(4) 307-325

[c] The Author(s) 2011

Reprints and permission:

DOI: 10.1 177/030437541 143 1761

Audra Mitchell (1) and Laim Kelly (2)
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