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Bringing down the walls: young people's perspectives on peace‐walls in Belfast

Madeleine Leonard (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK)
Martina McKnight (School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present young people's attitudes to peace‐walls in Belfast and whether they feel that these peace‐walls should be temporary or permanent structures.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on questionnaire responses from 125 young people between the ages of 14 and 15 from six schools located in areas in Belfast where Catholics and Protestants live side by side yet apart. The paper is also based on their responses to photo prompts, focus group discussions and images of peace‐walls drawn by some of the young people.

Findings

The young people produced six discourses on peace‐walls in Belfast and these are outlined in the paper.

Research limitations/implications

The paper endorses the necessity of incorporating young people's views of peace‐walls in Belfast as a prelude to finding ways in which to challenge taken‐for‐granted assumptions about the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Originality/value

The paper is original in that it addresses the neglect of young people's views on peace‐walls in Belfast and contributes to further understanding of the importance of capturing young people's spatial strategies in divided cities.

Keywords

Citation

Leonard, M. and McKnight, M. (2011), "Bringing down the walls: young people's perspectives on peace‐walls in Belfast", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 No. 9/10, pp. 569-582. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443331111164151

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited