Constructing a Shared Public Identity in Ethnonationally Divided Societies: Comparing Consociational and Transformationist Perspectives

John Michael Nagle, Mary-Alice Clancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In order to bolster sustainable peace building 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 engineering a shared identity in comparison to consociational arrangements, which are accused of institutionalising ethnic differences and perpetuating conflict. These transformationist approaches essentially rest on the premise that because ethnicity is constructed it can be reconstructed into new, shared forms. Looking at Northern Ireland, we argue that 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 consociationalism will probably not deliver a common identity, it does provide a robust form of conflict regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-97
Number of pages20
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • consociationalism
  • centripetalism
  • divided societies
  • ethno nationalism
  • Northern Ireland

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