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St. Michael's College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict

Abstract

This report is the outcome of a month-long study on the Peace Bridge in Derry~Londonderry. It is an investigation of the importance history plays in the peace process of Northern Ireland. The goal of this study was to assess the success of the Peace Bridge in helping the city to overcome an inherited historical memory. Data was obtained through formal interviews, surveys of users on the bridge, various forms of literature, and participant observation. Through these methods, it can be concluded that the Peace Bridge has successfully increased cross-community interaction in the city. This has been achieved through the creation or reinvention of shared public space free of sectarian symbols or associations. These shared spaces have become neutral gathering points that people from both sides of the River Foyle can enjoy, but are only a portion of the long-term process of conflict transformation within the city. The bridge itself has become a defining symbol of the city of Derry~Londonderry and holds a key role in the reinvention if the city’s identity. More research on this topic is necessary in order to understand the full-scale effect the bridge has had on the community. Obtaining opinions from a larger demographic of people including: politicians, community workers, youth, and residents of isolated communities, would help to shape a broader picture of what had been achieved and what problems still need to be addressed. Because this paper is focused on the recent development of the city, it would be beneficial to reexamine this topic in a few years time to see if public opinion has shifted.

Disciplines

Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change

 

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