In this unique book Scott A. Bollens combines personal narrative with academic analysis in telling the story of inflammatory nationalistic and ethnic conflict in nine cities – Jerusalem, Beirut, Belfast, Johannesburg, Nicosia, Sarajevo, Mostar, Bilbao, and Barcelona. Reporting on seventeen years of research and over 240 interviews with political leaders, planners, architects, community representatives, and academics, he blends personal reflections, reportage from a wealth of original interviews, and the presentation of hard data in a multidimensional and interdisciplinary exploration of these urban environments of damage, trauma, healing, and repair.
City and Soul in Divided Societies reveals what it is like living and working in these cities, going inside the head of the researcher. This approach extends the reader’s understanding of these places and connects more intimately with the lived urban experience. Bollens observes that a city disabled by nationalistic strife looks like a callous landscape of securitized space, divisions and wounds, frozen in time and in place. Yet, the soul in these cities perseveres.
Written for general readers and academic specialists alike, City and Soul in Divided Societies integrates facts, opinions, photographs, and observations in original ways in order to illuminate the substantial challenges of living in, and governing, polarized and unsettled cities.