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Keywords:

  • Northern Ireland;
  • intercommunity discourse;
  • cultural identity negotiation

Abstract

This study applies a critical/interpretive framework to analyze discourses from two public documents compiled in 2002 from two intercommunity groups in West Belfast in Northern Ireland. Discourses are taken from participants’ comments, recounted experiences, and descriptions of their intercommunity relationships and actions produced to share with wider audiences in Northern Ireland. Analysis of selected discourse demonstrates: (a) how intercommunity group identities are negotiated simultaneously with community group identities, gendered, generational, and class privilege positions; (b) how speakers’ comments position their own groups in relationship to institutional representatives such as religious leaders, politicians, and security personnel; (c) how levels of agency and resistance are contextually negotiated; and (d) the importance of dialectic tensions and contradictions of being a member of an intercommunity group as well as a separate community in West Belfast. Implications of this framework for conflict researchers and practitioners are also addressed.