Appalachian State University
The relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom is often framed through competing claims to space, power struggles, and exclusionary ethnonationalism. To explore the means through which space becomes a fundamental element of conflict and peacebuilding, this paper focuses on contemporary Northern Ireland. Much of this region remains divided as it emerges from a prolonged struggle, including a period of marked violence known as the Troubles. This conflict resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and residential and social segregation. This paper examines segregated neighborhoods to understand how urban space perpetuates ethnic enclaving in what many describe as apartheid. It also investigates grassroots efforts to create “shared spaces” to forge inclusive civic nationalism and positive “cross-border” interactions. The paper concludes with the broader context of the island of Ireland to situate Brexit negotiations (e.g., Northern Ireland Protocol and Windsor Framework) and how space is utilized to foster efforts to renegotiate perceptions of national identities and territorial belonging.