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Title: The battles for Divis Flats : a study of community power
Author: Webb, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 4644
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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The research object for this ‘case study’ and ‘power analysis’ are the campaigns for the construction, renovation and demolition of the Divis Flats complex in Belfast. An empirical investigation is undertaken of discrete phases of community action. The individual phases constitute historical segments of a complete case study covering a twenty-year period. The concepts developed by Stephen Lukes and John Gaventa and the ‘thinking tools’ provided by Pierre Bourdieu (1984: 1) are triangulated to explain and evaluate this community action. The central question addressed in the thesis is: does ‘the power cube’ with its focus on levels, forms and spaces of power provide an effective means to explain the outcomes of discrete periods of community action. Furthermore, do the ‘thinking tools’ of Pierre Bourdieu help ground Stephen Lukes and John Gaventa’s discussion of ‘third dimensional power’ in actual events. At the time of redevelopment, the Pound Loney was the most congested area in Northern Ireland. It was a highly segregated ethno/religious community. The redevelopment of the ‘Pound Loney’, the oldest of the historic ethno/religious working-class areas in central Belfast, involved the construction of the Divis Flats complex between 1966 and 1972. This historic neighbourhood was a site of intense communal conflict over the previous two hundred years. The ‘thinking tools’ developed by Pierre Bourdieu (1984: 1) where used to explore the origins, history and habitus of this resilient ‘defended neighbourhood’. Each historical chapter is a coherent nested case study within one overarching case study. The empirical data is interrogated by a triangulation of the different sources in each discrete phase. The work of Stephen Lukes and John Gaventa is used too analyse, and evaluate the emergence and ultimate success of power to as community action. Each phase of the campaign was shaped by the changing local, regional, national and international, social and political realities. This project provides a unique social history and analyis of community action at the micro level. It also provides a unique historical study of the relationship, at the micro level, between local community action before and during the United Kingdoms longest counter insurgency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available