Centre for the Study of Conflict
School of History, Philosophy and Politics,
Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster
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Managing Divided Cities
edited by Seamus Dunn
[Note: Keele University Press has been taken over by Edinburgh University Press]
This material is copyright Derek Birrell, 1994, and is included on the CAIN site by permission of Edinburgh University Press. You may not edit,
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Managing Divided Cities
edited by Seamus Dunn
Centre for the Study of Conflict
This volume records the proceedings of the Fulbright Colloquium on Managing Divided Cities which was held at the University of Ulster from 6 to 8 September 1993.
The incidence of divided cities is now widespread in the USA, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The central issue of pluralism within cities presents new and significant social problems. The initiative of the University of Ulster in bringing together specialists from both sides of the Atlantic and from other countries was much welcomed by the Fulbright Commission, which was pleased to lend its warm support.
In meeting its aim of promoting Anglo-American cultural understanding, the Commission sponsors at least one, and sometimes two, colloquia each year on subjects of mutual interest and importance to the United States of America and the United Kingdom. These meetings of distinguished scholars and practitioners in specialist fields augment the Commission's traditional awards of studentships, scholarships and fellowships to British and American citizens for study, teaching, research or work experience in the other's country. Over 11,000 such exchanges have been supported in this way by the Commission since it was established in 1948.
The Colloquium organised by the Centre for the Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster focused on sources of division, such as ethnicity, race and religion; the historical, geographical and physical contexts of division; the impact of division on social matters such as unemployment, education and health care; the changing demographic structure of cities with reference to the existence of under-classes and ghettos; the dysfunctional manifestations of division such as inequality and violent conflict; and current approaches to the management of division including new models of city governance. Valuable conclusions were reached.
The opinions expressed are, of course, personal to the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that publication of the proceedings will be greatly valued by all those concerned with the important issues connected with divided cities. The Fulbright Commission is pleased to have been able to help focus attention on the subject.
James A. A. H. Moore, Executive Director
The organisation and management of the Fulbright Colloquium on Managing Divided Cities held in September 1993, and the generation and production of this book based on its proceedings, involved contributions from a great many people. I am indebted to the Fulbright Commission, the Central Community Relations Unit (Belfast), the British Council and the Honourable the Irish Society, all of whom made financial contributions to the running of the colloquium. Colleagues in the University of Ulster, especially the staffs of the Centre for the Study of Conflict and the Department of Philosophy and Politics, provided moral and administrative support at various stages. Particular thanks are due to Pat Shortt for a wide variety of contributions, and also to Lyn Moffett, Annette Bergen, Myra Simpson and Valerie Feeney. The preparations for the colloquium, and decisions about membership, benefited from the expert advice of Susan Fainstein, Nathan Glazer, Don Horowitz and Trevor Smith.
The Fulbright programme of educational exchanges, which has been in operation since 1946, aims to promote mutual understanding between the United States of America and other nations. It now operates in 130 countries, with 46 binational commissions involved in its administration. In the United Kingdom, the Commission aims to offer qualified British and American nationals the opportunity to exchange significant knowledge and educational experience in fields of consequence to the countries and, thereby, to contribute to a deeper understanding of Anglo-American relations and to broaden the means by which the two societies can further their understanding of each other's culture.
In meeting this aim, the Commission offers Studentships, Scholarships and Fellowships to US and UK citizens, covering academe, administration, the professions, the arts, business and industry- enabling recipients to spend periods of up to one year, initially, in the other country. The Commission provides an Educational Advisory Service and a Speakers' Bureau to complement its exchange activities and supports annual colloquia on subjects of interest and significance to both Britain and America. The Colloquium on Managing Divided Cities is the 17th in the series which started in 1984.
The conflict in Northern Ireland has now been going on for over a quarter of a century and is still claiming lives. It was in full fling before perestroyka, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and before the world was made aware of other conflict in such places as Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Bosnia and Somalia. For a time it seemed, if not unique, then unusual in a late twentieth-century Europe which was the prototypical new single world, or global village: a post-ethnic world in which economic homogeneity, electronic communication and information systems made national and state differences seem archaic and anachronistic.
Since then the bipolar; cold-war world has gone, the major threat of nuclear war seems for the moment to have receded, and some talked - for a very short time - of the end of history. This moment of optimism (if that's what it was) was quickly followed by a whole series of small - or at least smaller - conflicts, many of which either became violent and war-like or teetered (and continue to teeter) on the edge of violence. Ethnic loyalty began to seem ineradicable, with a constant potential for mobilisation. Suddenly the Northern Ireland conflict looked typical, rather than exceptional, and contributed to the argument that inter-ethnic (or inter-group or inter-community) conflict, accompanied by either the reality or the threat of violence, would now be the most likely context for violence and war.
The aspirations and emotions of those involved in ethnic quarrels contrasted vividly with the rhetoric of globality. These were not about world domination, or empire-building in the grand sense, nor were they normally about the propagation of an ideology. They arose in the main from the existence of; and the wish to defend, an awareness of common identity related closely to a sense of ownership of shared and sometimes disputed territory.
Cities are a very particular realisation of this notion of disputed territory and the phenomena of group-membership and group identification find here their most complex and undeciphered forms. The dispossessed and the ambitious are attracted by the economic, physical, social and cultural energy, and so cities become the locations within which groups can create their own mini-worlds which are both of the city but also separate and of themselves. Access to the larger and more threatening cosmopolitan world is assured, but retreat to the comfort and security of the familiar language and culture is also assured.
This book presents the proceedings of a colloquium on the subject of Managing Divided Cities. It was held in Northern Ireland in the city of Derry/Londonderry in September 1993. The location was particularly appropriate in that the city has a long historical division even to the extent of having two names. The colloquium examined a range of questions including: sources of division, such as ethnicity, race and religion; the historical, geographical and physical contexts of division; the impact of division on social matters such as unemployment and education; the changing demographic structure of cities; the dysfunctional manifestations of division such as inequality and violent conflict; and current approaches to the management of division including new models of city governance.
The book can be thought of as having four sections. The first of these is about ways of defining the problems of modern cities. This includes a widely focused geographical and economic perspective on the modern city which reflects the apparent paradox of the ever-increasing singularity and coherence of the global world - with particular reference to economic and communication matters - and the continuing, even growing, power and salience of small-group, ethnic, immigrant worlds. It also looks at Belfast as an example of the concept of the polarised city where the division is related to fundamental and historically rooted questions of national identity. Finally it explores the metaphor of walls in relation to the city and to the opposing notions of separatedness and togetherness.
The second part looks at facets of a series of individual cities, including the emergence of ethnic division in modern London, the attempts to rebuild Beirut, the importance of black nationalism in attempting to understand the tensions and complexities of Los Angeles, especially with respect to competing minorities, and the evolving and seemingly inevitable separations within Belfast.
The third section contains a set of analyses of a range of factors and variables that have been thought to be influential in the generation of tension and ethnic separation. These began with a careful and constructive examination of social policy responses to conflict and violence in Belfast within the past 25 years. There is then a set of four challenging studies of social aspects of American cities. The first of these looks at labour markets and housing divisions and asks if there are structural aspects of economies which are race-related, thereby ensuring that some groups are especially vulnerable to unemployment and poor housing. The next chapter tries to examine the effect on their economic position, and on racial differentials, of the access to political power and position of African Americans in recent decades. The reality of growing crime rates in America is then examined, but the emphasis is on the extent to which the debate about crime is really a figurative way to avoid dealing directly with deeply divisive social and ethnic problems. Finally there is a close analysis of the distinction between divided cities, the phrase being taken to refer to racial or ethnic division; and dual cities, which refers to division on the basis of economic and class differences.
The fourth part of the book looks forward, both with optimism and pessimism, and tries to think about and understand the policies and procedures that might be necessary, if not to resolve the divisions, at least to move them in a different direction. This includes a deeply-felt examination of the role of violence, public and official on one hand, and implicit and unofficial on the other, in the making and continuation of the United States of America and a defence of the legitimacy of violence on the part of suppressed minorities. The emergence of new ethnic minorities in the cities of continental Europe are exemplified in a discussion of Paris, and the range of responses from the emergence of neo-nazism to bureaucratic managerialism. Finally there is a complex scrutiny of those aspects of modern governance that have manifestly failed, of which divided cities are the most obvious exemplification. The failure of the city is the failure of the state, and both reflect the even wider world failure to find new imaginative systems of governance which defuse the anxieties and fears of minorities and bring them in from the economic and political cold.
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