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Constructing a Shared Identity in Deeply Divided Societies
Working Paper (2015)
  • John M Nagle, University of Aberdeen

In order to bolster sustainable peacebuilding in violently divided societies, a normative suggestion is that efforts should be made to construct a shared public identity that overarches ethnic divisions. A number of different centripetal/transformationist processes are identified as engendering a shared identity in comparison to consociational arrangements, which are accused of institutionalizing ethnic differences and perpetuating conflict. These transformationist approaches essentially rest on the premise that since ethnicity is constructed it can be reconstructed into new shared forms. Looking at Northern Ireland, we argue there are limits to the extent that ethnicity can be reconstructed into shared identities. By analysing consociational and centripetalist/transformationist approaches to division, we conclude that although consociational arrangements will not deliver a common identity, they do provide the most robust form of conflict regulation.

  • Consociationalism,
  • power sharing,
  • ethnicity,
  • nationalism,
  • divided societies,
  • Northern Ireland
Publication Date
Winter January 1, 2015
Citation Information
John M Nagle. "Constructing a Shared Identity in Deeply Divided Societies" Working Paper (2015)
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