Ethnic-religious segregation: the preservation of memory or the preservation of conflict (IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology)
Marcello Mollica (University of Messina)
James Dingley (Queen’s University of Belfast)
Survival and Extinction
University Place 4.207
Thursday 8 August, 11:00-12:00, 14:00-15:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Memory & conflict play a role in creating ethnic identity. Postmodern ideas advocate the maintaining of different identities whilst classical social science suggest the opposite. How are memories constructed? What is the role of religion? These questions are vital to appreciate segregation.

Long abstract:

Both memory and conflict play fundamental roles in the creation, maintenance and passing on of ethnic identity and are often interlinked, e.g. memory of past conflicts. This may be a good thing in terms of identity and culture whilst at the same time being a bad thing in terms of maintaining old enmities and fuelling new conflicts. Post modern ideas such as multi-culturalism tend to be strong advocates of maintaining different identities and suggest that they can be quite compatible with peaceful co-existence, whilst classical social science tended to suggest the opposite. Meanwhile different identities, with their different memories, and their maintenance are also frequently associated with both segregation and conflict. How are memories constructed? How does memory influence conflict? Does segregation play an important role in maintaining and fuelling conflict? Is it necessary for the maintenance of ethnic memory? Do separate memories fuel conflicts and segregation? How do they relate to economic interests and imperatives? What is the role of religion in these things? Is there a need to construct single identities and memories for conflict resolution? These and other related questions are vital to understand if we are better appreciate not simply the causes of segregation but also the role it plays in conflict and/or peaceful co-existence.