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Title: An exploration of the creation and maintenance of Catholic identity in young people in post-conflict Northern Ireland
Author: Smith, Aimee J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 6500
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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This research explores the creation and maintenance of young Catholic identity in Northern Ireland. It examines the influence of segregation and deprivation on identity, seeks evidence of change and continuity and the capacity for young people to contribute to peacebuilding and social change. Taking into account that identity is not created within fixed spaces, but is subject to change in location and over time, a multi-sited ethnographic research design was employed across locations in Belfast and Derry. These included Catholic majority/minority and mixed spaces. We find that segregation has an impact on identity content; in single-identity areas we find exclusive identities based on opposition. In shared spaces we find that identities can be inclusive. In addition, we find that performance of identity ranges from strong to low, given quality of intergroup contact. Deprivation had an impact on the strengths of these performances rather than the content (exclusive/inclusive) of identity. In conclusion identity in young people can operate along a continuum, with differing levels of content and performance where identity is subject to change within spaces and movement between locations. Therefore divisive identities are not inevitable; given the right circumstances and support, social cohesion can flourish in a divided society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Catholics