Bordered Cities and Divided Societies : Humanistic Essays of Conflict, Violence, and Healing book cover
1st Edition

Bordered Cities and Divided Societies
Humanistic Essays of Conflict, Violence, and Healing

ISBN 9780367547424
Published March 18, 2021 by Routledge
194 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Bordered Cities and Divided Societies is a provocative, moving, and poetic encounter with the hearts and minds of individuals living in nine cities of conflict, violence, and healing—Jerusalem, Belfast, Johannesburg, Nicosia, Sarajevo, Mostar, Barcelona, Bilbao, and Beirut. Based on research spanning 25 years, including 360 interviews and over two and a half years of in-country field research, this innovative work employs a series of concise reflective narrative essays, grouped into four thematic sections, to provide a humanistic, “on-the-ground” understanding of divided cities, conflict, and peacemaking. Incorporating both scholarly analyses based on empirical research and introspective essays, Bollens digs underneath grand narratives of conflict to illuminate the complexities and paradoxes of living amid nationalistic political strife and the challenges of planning and policymaking in divided societies. Richly illustrated, the book includes informative synopses about the cities that provide access for general readers while extensive connections to recent literature enhance the book’s research value to scholars.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Soul Trekking  1. Polarized: Us/Them  2. Emotions: Interior  3. Place: Exterior  4. Time: Past/Future  Postscript: Can It Happen in America? Is It Happening Here?

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Scott A. Bollens is Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy and Warmington Endowed Chair of Peace and International Cooperation, University of California, Irvine. For over 25 years, he has investigated urbanism and nationalistic political conflict in nine contested cities worldwide. Detailed analyses of two of these cities are in Trajectories of Conflict and Peace: Jerusalem and Belfast Since 1994 (London: Routledge, 2018).


"Bollens presents a highly radical new approach to analysing processes of establishing borders and generating cleavages. Drawing heavily on emotional aspects in his interviews, he convincingly radicalizes the methodological armature of ethnographic analyses."  —Jürgen Mackert, Universität Potsdam