A study of the incorporation of the Irish in Britain with special reference to Catholic state education : involving a comparison of the attitudes of pupils and teachers in selected secondary schools in London and Liverpool
The central hypothesis of the thesis is ttat en important aim of Catholic state education has been to Incorporate the children of Irish working-class migrants. This hypothesis Is differently explored in part one and part two of the thesis. Part one is essentially a sociological account of the relationship between the English Catholic Church, the State and the migrant comminity in the 19th century. This eccount is preceded by an analysis of Irish migrants and the political, economic and cultural contexts of their settlement In Britain. Part one attempts to show the role which the structure and content of Catholic elementary education played in the process of denatlonalising the children of this migrant corrnunity. This was achieved by institutionalising a silence on the p01 itic& origins of the migrants and by forging a bond between the Church and Its Irish congregation based on Cetholicity and corm.inity. In this way the pclItic& voice of the Irish In Britain was stilled end the process of incorporation was facilitated Renewed migration from Ireland ensured that these incorporatist strategies continued to be employed end relevant in the 20th century. Part two consists of en exploratory empirical study comparing the attitudes of pupils and teachers from selected Catholic schools In LIVerpool and London, the former being the main site of 19th-century migration and the latter the main site of 20th-century migration. The aims of this investigation were two-fold: to explore whether the practices of Catholic schools continue to renderthe Irish antecedents of the majority of their pupils Invisible and thus perpetuate the incorporatist strategies of the 19th century; and to discover the degree to which class, religion and national Identity, mediated through generation and region, still significantly determine the Identity and experience of being Irish In Britain.