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Frontiers of ViolenceConflict and Identity in Ulster and Upper Silesia 1918-1922$
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Timothy Wilson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583713

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583713.001.0001

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Conclusion: Retrieved Gauntlets

Conclusion: Retrieved Gauntlets

Chapter:
(p.212) Conclusion: Retrieved Gauntlets
Source:
Frontiers of Violence
Author(s):

T. K. Wilson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583713.003.0006

This concluding chapter returns to the theoretical concern with communal boundaries in deeply divided societies that was first raised in the introduction. The argument of Donald Horowitz that it ‘makes no sense’ to ask whether ‘groups based on language’ behave differently from ‘groups based on religion’ is robustly challenged. It is argued that language in Upper Silesia acted as a highly porous and inadequate boundary between rival national movements while as religion in Ulster offered a sharp and unambiguous communal boundary. By this reading, what made the difference between the types of violence prevalent in Ulster and Upper Silesia was the scale of the task in enforcing clear identity boundaries. Relative restraint in violence derived from clearly-maintained divisions between communities; and more spectacular atrocity from their convergence.

Keywords:   Upper Silesia, Ulster, Northern Ireland, ethnic conflict, ethnic frontier, ethno-religious, ethno-linguistic, Donald Horowitz, communal boundary, borderland

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