This article explores the possibility that an analysis of racism in the United States and sectarianism in Northern Ireland inspired by literary, psychotherapeutic, religious and philosophical conceptions of metaphor might yield new insight into the two situations by attending carefully to similarities and differences between them. Following brief summaries of the current state of racism in the U.S. and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, the article offers two perspectives from the field of psychotherapy that seem particularly germane to both situations. Then we turn to the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt for a reflection on the unpredictability and irreversibility of human action, and what can be done within the limits of those conditions. Finally, we find in contemporary broad-based community organizing in the tradition of Saul Alinsky our closing metaphor: interracial and interfaith citizens organizations as crucibles that enable citizens and people of faith to imagine a way forward in societies struggling with racist and sectarian histories.
Alderdice, John and Cowan, Michael A.
"Metaphors for One Another: Racism in the United States and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland,"
Peace and Conflict Studies: Vol. 11
, Article 2.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol11/iss1/2