Parades, Flags, Carnivals and Riots: Public Space, Contestation and Transformation in Northern Ireland
This paper explores one of the defining aspects of politics and identity in Northern Ireland: the control and utilisation of public space, particularly urban public space. I will review how public space has been a part of an analysis of the conflict by anthropologists and then look at the role anthropologists have played in policy development. The second part of the paper will examine evidence of some changes in the way public space is being used in central Belfast that potentially reflects changing identities in the city. The paper concludes by speculating on whether a new civic identity that spans the political and ethnic divisions has started to develop in Belfast and that this might evolve even with increased residential division throughout the Belfast urban area.
Dr. Dominic Bryan is Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queens University, Belfast, is the Chair of Diversity Challenges and the former Chair of Democratic Dialogue, Irelands first Think-Tank. Dominic is an anthropologist researching political rituals, commemoration, public space and identity in Northern Ireland. He has conducted detailed research on parades in Northern Ireland since 1991 (see ‘Orange Parades, Ritual, Tradition and Control’ Pluto Press 2000). In 2001/2 he as a part of the Clio Group that evaluated government funding to victims groups in Northern Ireland. Since 2001 Dominic has undertaken extensive research into the use of symbols, particularly flags, in Northern Ireland. His research, funded by OFMDFM, was one of the key indicators of the Shared Future policy and he was a member of the Flags Protocol Review Group. Dominic is a member of the Living Memorial sub-group of Healing Through Remembering and is part of a number of research projects examining processes of commemoration. He has also worked with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.
Friday, January 24; 12:00 Noon
Baker Hall 154R