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Title: Cross-community identities in deeply divided societies : the case of the Northern Irish identity
Author: McNicholl, Kevin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 3041
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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The Northern Irish identity has emerged as a possible cross-community identity, inclusive of members of both traditions within a divided society. This thesis aims to answer four overarching questions about this identity. Who are the Northern Irish identifiers? How is this identity understood? What differences exist between Catholic and Protestant interpretations of this identity? What is the relationship between this identity and politics? In chapter three the previous literature on the topic of the demographic profile of Northern Irish identifiers is given and compared to the most recent survey data in the region. Focus group data is analysed in chapter four to better understand the different ways in which this identity is understood and used. Four distinct interpretations of this identity are discovered: Northern Irishness is shown to be perceived as a social identity,-as a discursive claim, as a ‘hot’ political project, and finally as a banal indicator of place. Survey data is then analysed in chapter five to compare Catholic and Protestant interpretations of this identity to show that Protestants are more willing to claim Northern Irishness, and that this identity has a stronger relationship to intergroup friendship and’ preference for moderate political parties among Catholics. In chapter six the Hansard record of debates in the Northern Ireland Assembly is analysed to show how each party tends to articulate the term ‘Northern Irish’. Regionalism and centrism are shown to be the important factors involved in how each party frames understandings of Northern Irishness. Finally, in chapter 7 an experiment is carried out to test the claim that consociational government has influenced the preference for this identity. The hypotheses were not supported, but the data gathered did give some support for claims made earlier in the thesis about differences in Catholic and Protestant understandings the Northern Irish identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available