2015, 17(2) • E. Bereskin: Infrastructures of Partition, Infrastructures of Juncture: Separation Barriers and Intercommunal Contact in Belfast and Nicosia

Infrastructures of Partition, Infrastructures of Juncture: Separation Barriers and Intercommunal Contact in Belfast and Nicosia

by Emily Bereskin (Technische Universität Berlin)

»read the full article

Through an analysis of Belfast, Northern Ireland and Nicosia, Cyprus, this article considers how separation barriers catalyze social mixing and cooperation in ethnonationally divided cities. Due to their highly visible and symbolic nature as well as their physical location at the interface between communities, I argue that the barrier is a critical infrastructural element whose management and symbolic interpretation can motivate intercommunal cooperation – just as it can incite conflict. This article analyzes four socio-material interventions designed to ameliorate spatial and social divide: 1) the regeneration or aestheticization of barriers; 2) the negotiation of border openings; 3) the use of the border as a catalyst for intergroup activities; and 4) the creation of shared spaces at the boundary line. I discuss the possibilities and limitations of these practices both as confidence-building measures and as activities that foster social mixing. The article concludes by querying if barrier projects may inadvertently funnel funding away from more localized, single-community peacebuilding activities.

Keywords: barrier, reconciliation, social mixing, Belfast, Nicosia

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:
Bereskin, E. (2015). Infrastructures of Partition, Infrastructures of Juncture: Separation Barriers and Intercommunal Contact in Belfast and Nicosia. New Diversities, 17(2), 35-58. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from http://newdiversities.mmg.mpg.de/?page_id=2184

New Diversities • Volume 17, No. 2, 2015
The Infrastructures of Diversity: Materiality and Culture in Urban Space
Guest Editors: Marian Burchardt (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen), Stefan Höhne (Technische Universität Berlin) and AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen)
ISSN-Print 2199-8108
ISSN-Internet 2199-8116