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Title: The construction of collective identity in Northern Ireland in relation to minority ethnic and immigrant populations
Author: McKeever, Elizabeth Rosemary
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 3630
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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Ethnic minority and immigrant populations in Northern Ireland have been regularly subjected to discrimination, intimidation and attacks. This research investigated how collective, or in group, identities are constructed in relation to the presence of ethnicized populations in media and text-based material. The theoretical framework connected the Social Psychology paradigms of Social Identity Theory and Discourse Analysis. The 'collective' identity was conceptualized as dynamic and formed in language to serve rhetorical goals. The literature review demonstrated that while the Contact Hypothesis has explained relations between Catholic and Protestant groupings, it is less appropriate in addressing apathy and violence against ethnic minorities. Alternatively, language-in-use is a social process by which groups decide who belongs, who is subject to discrimination, and who is made visible in media discourse. The initial study considered a propaganda leaflet urging for the removal of the Chinese community in an area of Belfast. Violent racist discourse was legitimized and constructed as a virtuous response. The second study focused on opinion pieces in the Northern Ireland press condemning the intimidation of the Roma community. Language use strategically managed blame, deflected responsibility, and appropriated the needs of ethnic minority groups to in-group political ends. The third study considered political responses to an anti-lslamic sermon in a Belfast church. The then First Minister, Peter Robinson, defended racist speech, whereas Anna Lo MLA, appealed to a wider collective who would want to disclaim racism. These studies emphasize the difficulties in working towards an inclusive form of civic identity in Northern Ireland. The concluding discussion identified the effects of racist discourse, especially the stereotyping, appropriation and quieting of ethnic minorities, and evidenced a tack of institutional accountability. Academics should identify patterns of discourse which potentially disadvantage ethnic minority groupings, leading to the creation of possibilities for social change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available