Even in places of deadly national enmity, some very ordinary people are routinely doing peace. In this highly original study, Cynthia Cockburn deepens our understanding of the processes sustaining conflict in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and Bosnia/Hercegovina by means of a close involvement with three remarkable women’s projects that have chosen co-operation. How, she asks, do they fill the dangerous space between them with words instead of bullets? How do they make democracy out of difference?

The book brings fresh insight to theories of the self in relation to collective identities, and of gender in nationalist thought and practice. Observing, in words and photographs, how these women’s alliances create a safe space in which to work together, we learn more about the dangers of essentialism and the problematic relationship between identity and democracy.