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Three Conference Papers on Aspects of Sectarian Division - 'Borders within Borders'

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Borders within borders: material and ideological segregation
as forms of resistance and strategies of control.

Marie Smyth
Templegrove Action Research Limited &
University of Ulster, Magee College

                Cartographies of Silence

                by Adrienne Rich

                ...The technology of silence
                The rituals, etiquette

                the blurring of terms
                silence not absence

                of words or music or even
                raw sounds

                Silence can be a plan
                rigorously executed

                the blueprint to a life

                It is a presence
                it has a history a form

                Do not confuse it
                with any kind of absence...

Background to the research

The history of segregation in Ireland pre-dates the troubles of the last twenty five years. Jones' (1956) work describes the considerable segregation in Belfast, which was particularly marked in working class areas. Barrit and Carter's (1962) which also pre-dates the troubles, indicates that segregation was widespread,

    "in the towns, the two communities tend to live apart:... in the country (so far as it was affected by the Plantations) the Irish tended to be excluded from the good valley land and banished to the mountains". [cited in Whyte, 1990 p33]

With the upheavals of 1968 and 1969, Belfast in particular, and Derry and other urban areas in general experienced violence which directly led to many people fleeing their homes and seeking the greater safety of a politically or religiously homogenous area. At this time, the first "peace lines" of security fences were built, many of which still exist today, and many others appeared subsequently.

The research described in this paper began with a focus on residential segregation, and the recent evidence that the residential divisions in urban areas between Catholics and Protestants have been deepening. The City of Derry or Londonderry is divided by the river Foyle, with a Catholic majority on the cityside and a Protestant majority in the Waterside. In both the Waterside and the cityside there are minority enclave populations: - in the cityside the minority Protestant population is concentrated in the Fountain area, and in the Waterside the minority Catholic population is concentrated in Gobnascale. There have been shifts in population, notably a move of Protestants from the cityside to the Waterside, and an overall decrease in the Protestant population none of which had been quantified until this research, and which has led to concern about the deepening of existing divisions.

A group of people known as the Guildhall Group, drawn from the Catholic and Protestant communities in the North West and elsewhere in Northern Ireland, came together during 1993 to examine ways of advancing the dialogue about political developments across the sectarian divide. After a number of meetings, a sub-group within the Guildhall Group clarified their intention to undertake research in order to examine specific aspects of sectarian division in Derry, - or as the Protestant minority in the city call it, Londonderry.

The political climate

The project was designed over a six month period during 1993. This was done by the sub-group of the Guildhall Group, who discussed and amended draft research designs produced by the researcher. At that time, political violence was continuing in Northern Ireland and dialogue on political issues across the political divide was relatively rare, and to engage in such dialogue was perceived to be risky, if not dangerous. Some members of the Guildhall Group wished their membership of the Group to be kept secret for these reasons, and it appeared to be particularly difficult for those who came from the Protestant community. When violent incidents occurred, the tension at Guildhall Group meetings would increase. Yet those who attended took the risk of discussing politics with people some of whom they had never met before, from the "other" community. It was in this atmosphere that the project was designed, and funding was sought.

Funding was eventually secured, leave of absence for the researcher from the university was obtained, a company limited by guarantee was established and the project started in September 1994. Just as the project was beginning, the IRA announced an unconditional cease-fire, and this was followed several weeks later by a loyalist cease-fire, both of which have held until the time of writing. These cease-fires constituted a dramatic and unprecedented change in the political climate in which the project was to operate. In the early months of the cease-fire, much speculation took place, both locally and among politicians about their permanency. However, as the length of the cease-fires grew, changes in daily life began to happen. A diminution of troops and armed police on the streets, fewer checkpoints, an increase in some areas of normal policing, on issues such as traffic and parking offences, an increase in the numbers of people using the city centre, particularly at night, all gradually became apparent. Eventually, street demonstrations began to occur, on issues such as the visit of Prince Charles and John Major to the city. Disputes occurred and recurred:- about the name of the city- Unionists calling it Londonderry and the predominantly anti-unionist city council calling it Derry; the right of the loyalist Apprentice Boys to march on the walls of the city which overlook the Bogside, an anti-unionist area. Public debate also challenged the reality of republican cease-fires when violence continued in another form-punishment beatings were ongoing in anti-unionist areas. There was also a growing concern about a rise in drug trafficking as a result of the cease-fire and the attendant removal of the paramilitary deterrent to drug peddling. An atmosphere of expectation -some cynical and some less so -surrounded the announcement of the economic aid packages from the European and other governments.

Methodological orientation

The methodological issues raised by the research and the solutions adopted to those issues have been documented in greater depth elsewhere (see Smyth M. and Moore, R. 1995.) The methodological approach adopted could be described as New Paradigm Research (Reason, P. Rowan, J. 1993), or, popularly, - action research.

A number of principles were considered central to the operation of the research. These were:

1. Research should be an exchange between the researcher and the researched in which both roles are crucial and equally valuable.

2. Research is a field of operation which requires particular knowledge and skills.

3. Research is a socially responsible activity there should be a cost-benefit balance to those being researched.

4. Research is a socially accountable activity; the researcher is accountable to those researched, to funders and to the community at large.

5. In order to actualise the accountability of the researcher and democratise the research process, the findings of the research should be accessible to those researched and to the public.

6. The boundaries between researcher and researched are permeable and complex. The subjectivity of the researcher should be explicitly incorporated into the research design.

7. The data collected should recognise and respect the political, economic, social and emotional nature of the phenomena examined, without privileging one aspect over another.

A number of mechanisms were incorporated into the research design in order to implement those principles:

1. The Board of Directors include individuals from working class communities and backgrounds, including the communities studied. Board of Directors meetings (on alternate meetings) are open to the public.

2. A research Advisory Group was established and includes individuals from the communities studied. The Advisory Group is made up of research experts and community experts, and both community and research is respected.

3. Networking with and participating in "indigenous" informal groups and community associations in the communities being studied takes place. Relationships between these organisations and the research are collaborative and assistance with community activities and advice and consultation is offered by the researchers.

4. The research is managed and the researchers are employed and accountable to an executive body which is made up of community activists, academics and local citizens drawn from both sides of the sectarian divide.

5. Academic language are often inaccessible to lay people, so it is avoided where possible, -although not always successfully. Local and national media channels are being used to present the findings of the research, as well as public meetings (where we also obtain feedback)and pamphlet type publications. There is ongoing collaboration with journalists and with policy makers. Other research on issues relating to sectarianism and segregation has been presented in a series of public seminars in a central venue. Results of our research have been presented on an ongoing basis by creating space for ongoing public presentations of our research and that of others to interested parties and individuals, based on the ideal of and "public ownership" and citizens' right to know.

6. The identification of the researchers with each community is openly acknowledged. Co-researching, where a researcher from the "other" community conducts the fieldwork in that community, is practiced. This strategy is explained to the communities involved in the research.

7. Fieldwork notebooks, discussions and team meetings deal explicitly with the factual and the emotional field in which the research takes place. The impact of the research on the researchers and on the research team is processed on an ongoing basis. The emotional aspects of the fieldwork are addressed specifically as social facts, both in the researchers and in the communities studied.

Action Research and Change
Within this project action research is best defined as research which mobilises change, change being

    "a movement, a process beyond a given identity/ institution/ relationship/ dynamic. It is, in essence, orientated towards a social and or individual change."
    (Reinhartz S. (1992) Feminist Methods in Social Research)

The research process is one of creating dialogue, collecting information, analysis it, feeding it back to the participants, to the other community and establishing intersubjective understandings. Those understandings are then communicated to policy makers and influentials, and their responses are incorporated into the research. Since the research process is explicitly concerned with generating change in the situation of participants, the ultimate evaluation of the research will not merely be in terms of data and its analysis, but also of movement and change which occurred. Conclusions about causal relationships must necessarily be tentative since one can merely document the information collected and disseminated, the changing expressions of consciousness, the quality and form of dialogue, the policy changes, and the life situations revealed and interpreted.

There is a tension between being 'useful' to the communities, contributing positively to the ongoing work in each of the communities being studied, engaging with local people, on the one hand, and on the other, the need to be a "researcher", analytically competent, and able to detach sufficiently from the community to engage in the research task. There are moments when the role of the researcher resembles that of a community development worker, and the goal that the research should make a positive contribution to the communities being studied often accentuates the community development aspect of the research role.

Research Methods

The qualitative and quantative aspects of the project are inter-connected.

Quantitative methods

Initially, we conducted an interrogation of the census data to establish the baseline population changes in the city and in the areas being studied. We used small area statistics on a grid square basis. We may do further work in the future on enumeration district statistics, in order to quantify deprivation and other issues in the two communities being studied. We have designed a questionnaire for use in the two communities which will test the prevalence of some of the views and experiences found in the in-depth interviews carried out in each area.

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative methods are being used in the compilation of fieldwork notes, records of public seminars, and in-depth interviews; and an action research or, - more accurately, "interaction research" orientation is being maintained by the ongoing presentation of our findings, the use of the responses we receive to shape the next phase of the work, and the ongoing interaction with the communities and relevant policy makers. The compilation of field notes, and the "matching" of fieldworkers to communities of the same identity as themselves affords the opportunity to exploit and explore the insights gained by conscious use of the workers' subjective views and observations. A comparison of these, the use of reflective dialogues in which the impact of each community on each worker is explored will provide the opportunity to deepen the qualitative analysis.

The research design

The research was designed to be composed of a number of parts:

- establishment of the size of the population shift through the interrogation of census data
- two ethnographic studies of a Protestant enclave community and a Catholic enclave
- a social survey in each of the two enclaves
- presentation of the findings to the communities, policy makers and the public
In addition, due to changed political climate we added a fifth dimension to the
- creation of a public dialogue on issues of sectarian division

The research design which involves both qualitative and quantitative methods, action-research, and ongoing feedback of our findings to the researched communities and to the city as a whole. The research design can be depicted as follows:


Qualitative Quantitative Action Research
Phase 1 Entry into
Collection & Analysis
of Census Data
Entry into Communities
Aim: To create a climate
of respectful public
discussion about issues
of sectarian division
Phase 2 5-7 in depth
interviews in
each enclave
(selected by
with local groups)
Research Design Public seminars on
aspects of sectarian
Publications on Area
Plan census Data.
Seminars etc.
Phase 3 Use of focus groups
work in schools
+ youth clubs.
Follow up in depth
Questionnaire design,
pilot and admin.
Statistical Analysis
of results.
Opsahl type hearing on
minority experience
in the city. Publication
of findings.
Trips to BelfastCommunity
education with enclave
Phase 4 Final Report Final Report. Public Exhibition

The findings

Population shifts
In order to quantify the population trends in the city area, we extracted small area statistics on a grid square basis from the 1971, 1981, and 1991 Census of Population for Northern Ireland. Our preliminary work on the census data for the city area shows:

1. a change in the ratio of Protestants to Catholics in the city, due to substantial decline in the overall total Protestant population in the city as a whole;

2. an internal shift of Protestants from the east to the west banks of the city;

3. an increase in internal segregation in two communities, which we suggest may be indicative of a wider trend towards increased segregation.

1. We first examined the population figures by religion for the entire city area, using a grid square which is approximately bounded by Termon House on the Letterkenny Road in the South West, Drumahoe Bridge in the South East, Thornhill College in the North East and the Sewage Works at Elagh Road in the North West. We extracted total population figures from the 1971, 1981 and 1991 census of population, and a breakdown by religion for each year.

As is widely known, the figures for 1981 are not entirely reliable due to difficulties with the return rate in that census. We also collected data from the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, which estimated the decline in the Protestant population in the city. We incorporated these figures into our public presentation on the changing population balance, and outlined the reasons why our figures were different. Changing electoral boundaries over the twenty year period have made a longitudinal analysis of ward data virtually meaningless. Furthermore, the age for voting changed from 21 years to 18 years in the middle of the period in question, thus rendering electoral figures unreliable, and requiring us to resort to grid square data.


1971 1981 1991
Total Roman Catholics 40188 37855 54658
Total Protestants 15907 12125 10924
Total Presbyterian 8134 5828 5463
Total C of Ireland 6800 5705 4873
Total Methodists 973 592 588
Total "other" & "not stated" 9119 13492 4921
Total population 65214 63472 70503

An examination of these figures for the urban area of the city shows a change in the ratio of Protestants to Catholics in the city, a substantial decline in the overall total Protestant population in the city as a whole.( See Table 1)

This overall trend is mirrored in similar trends in the city of Belfast, where a similar exodus of the Protestant population to the North Down and Ards area has been documented. It is likely that the causes of such shifts are complex and composed of a number of interacting factors. The activities of planners and policy makers has impacted, whether intentionally or unintentionally, on many factors including the sectarian balance. Further, we know that policy in certain fields such as housing, plays a significant role in shaping the sectarian geography of our cities and towns.

2. The second examination of the statistics was aimed at establishing internal migration within the urban area. For this purpose, an examination of the small area statistics using grid squares was conducted. A patchwork of grid squares which approximated the Waterside and Cityside areas was constructed, and the total population figures, again broken down by religion, were examined. Table 2 shows the Waterside figures, and Table 3 shows the figures for the Cityside.


1971 1981 1991
Total Roman Catholic 7708 5930 8032
Total Protestant 7849 9244 9935
Total Presbyterian 4167 4434 5053
Total Church of Ireland 3063 4305 4336
Total Methodist 619 505 546
Total other, none & not stated 2709 3854 3093
Total other 976 826 1343
Total not stated 1733 3028 1263
Total none - - 487
Total population
present on census night



Total population usually resident - 19028 21060

The Waterside Catholic population figures for 1981 as with other figures for that year, (particularly for the Catholic population) are not reliable. Nonetheless, there has been a small increase in the Catholic population in the Waterside, from 7708 in 1971 to 8032 in 1991: an increase of 324. The increase in the Waterside Protestant population is somewhat larger: from 7849 in 1971 to 9935 in 1991: an increase of 1903.

An examination of the figures for the Cityside (Table 3) shows that there has also been an increase in the Catholic population in the Cityside, from 33951 in 1971 to 48233 in 1991, an increase of 14282. The Protestant population, on the other hand , has decreased from 8459 in 1971 to 1407 in 1991, a decrease of 7052. This decrease of 7052 is not offset by the increase of 1903 in the Waterside Protestant population. The overall trend in population movement is of Protestant movement out of the city area completely.

TABLE 3: CITYSIDE: TOTAL POPULATION BY RELIGION (see footnote 2 for grid references)

1971 1981 1991
Total Roman Catholics 33951 32683 48233
Total Protestants 8459 2874 1407
Total Presbyterian 4227 1444 656
Total Church of Ireland 3861 1327 690
Total Methodist 371 103 61
Total other, none & not stated 6706 9987 3810
Other denominations total 825 574 532
Not stated total 5881 9413 2755
Total none - - 523
Total persons present on census night 49623 45238 53088
Total person usually resident - 45544 53450

Table 1 suggests that the decline in the Protestant population for the city as a whole is 4983 over the twenty year period. Tables 2 and 3, which use different land boundaries, suggest that the overall decline in Protestant population in the Cityside of 7052 is somewhat offset by an increase in the Waterside Protestant population of 1903, giving an overall decline of 5149 for the city as a whole . It seems reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the city population of Protestants has declined by at least 5000 people.

However, this figure may be an underestimation. It has been argued that the majority of those who respond "none" to the religion question on the census are, in fact, Protestant. Bearing this in mind, we should note-, according to Table 1 - an overall decline in this category in the overall city population of 4198. There has been an equivalent increase of 384 in the Waterside "none, other and not stated"population in the twenty year period, giving some credence to the view that these people are, in fact, Protestant. A corresponding decline in the same population in the Cityside (see Table 3) of 2896 would tend to confirm this view. This means that the overall decrease citywide in this category is 2512 people. Potentially, therefore, the population loss of Protestants to the city is 5149 plus some of this number: a maximum potential loss of 7661, although it is unlikely that all of the 2512 "none other and not stated" category are Protestants.

What is evident from an examination of the Cityside and Waterside figures is an internal shift of Protestants from the east to the west banks of the city, in the context of an overall decline in the Protestant population of the city of between five to six and a half thousand people.

Some of these changes in population balance are not due to migration, but to natural increases in the population. Migration occurs for a variety of reasons, and sometimes a combination of several reasons: upward mobility; acquisition of better housing; employment; decline of the area due to vandalism, redevelopment, as well as fear, intimidation and sectarian issues.

3. We examined small area statistics for two communities within the city. We looked at the Fountain and Gobnascale as examples of enclave communities. The geographic definition of the Fountain community proved problematic, in that the community boundaries have contracted with the decline in population. We used contemporary boundaries as defined by current residents, and the figures here are the nearest grid square data within those boundaries.

as a %age of the total 1971 population 100 52.11 36.43
Total Roman Catholic 203 75 64
Total Presbyterians 492 183 130
Total Church of Ireland 562 294 144
Total Methodist 71 30 16
Total "other", "none" & "not stated" 108 96 83

What emerges from the examination of the Fountain small area statistics is the severity of the population decline whilst the religious balance of the population - predominantly Protestant - remains virtually unaltered. Our preliminary inquiries indicate that a variety of factors appear to be involved in this depopulation: redevelopment; the housing market; a particular form of housing blight; and sectarian issues including violence and intimidation.

The population figures and religious breakdown for Gobnascale were examined using the same definition and method of extracting the data. Whilst the total Catholic population in the area has fluctuated slightly, there has been a dramatic decline in all other denominations, including a decline in the category "Other, None and Not Stated." The marked trend towards increased segregation is evident. This trend is symptomatic of a wider trend towards an increase in internal segregation in two communities, which we suggest may be indicative of a wider trend towards increased segregation.

Total Roman Catholics 1098 1246 1190
Total Presbyterians 200 21 5
Total Church of Ireland 156 13 0
Total Methodist 41 0 0
Total Other, None & Not Stated 268 461 117

The trend towards increased segregation and the decline of the Protestant population in the city, which gave rise to the research in the first place was quantified. We published the population figures and framed them in a submission to the Area Planning team who are in the process of devising the Area Plan for the next six years. We also published the submission to them, have argued publicly that the formulation of the new area plan is an opportunity to begin to disentangle some of these factors and explore the role planners can and should play.

This trend is one which raises questions about the desirability of increased segregation and presents a challenge to social scientists, politicians and policy makers. It raises issues about the nature and purpose of segregation, the possibility and validity of "social engineering" and the kinds of cultural and political environment we will be living in if the trend continues. These issues are most marked in urban environments where the greatest amounts of violence has been experienced, but are by no means absent from rural areas, as Murtagh's (1995) ongoing work is illustrating.

What is clear is that the Fountain is a community which requires urgent and special support, if it is to survive culturally and socially. This is a situation which some Protestant enclave communities in Belfast are also experiencing. In policy terms, the plight of communities such as The Fountain raises the question of whether special arrangement should be made to recognise and address the decline of this community, which has been uniquely affected by a combination of factors. The dilemma is this: to fail to recognise the special situation of communities such as the Fountain and to make no special provision to support such communities is to contribute by default to the processes of increased segregation and to the endangering of the Fountain as a community.

This returns us, however to the question of the desirability of segregation, the reasons for its continuation, and indeed the reasons why some argue passionately for bringing an end to it, and for integration. Should we support, with a range of facilitative social policies, the existence of enclave communities, rather than allow the process of segregation to proceed "naturally"? We will return to these questions again and again.

The ethnography: establishing a base in the communities
To begin with, leaflets about the project were distributed in both the Fountain and Gobnascale and articles about the research were printed in local newsletters in both areas. General media coverage of the project and the research was also arranged in the local press, both in the "Catholic" Derry Journal and in the "Protestant" Londonderry Sentinel. The job advertisement for the community researcher was posted in the Fountain community.

The Fountain

One of the Directors of Templegrove is resident in the Fountain, is heavily involved in community organisations in the area, and has a chemist shop on the edge of the Fountain. He provides an ongoing contact within the area and a useful touchstone for local issues. He is also a source of information about the history of the area, and a resource through which other research material and other published work on the area is available. The Community Researcher established initial contact with: a community organisation - Diamond Projects Trust; and a local amenity, the Fountain Shop, negotiating the use of its noticeboard; Individuals who attended the well-publicised public meeting; other individuals suggested by the local Director. Information and perceptions of the problems and concerns of the area were gathered. Discussion with the Chair and Secretary of the Fountain Partnership, along with six in-depth interviews have offered further insight into the range of issues concerning Fountain residents. Two of these contacts have lead to a further interview with a former resident of the Fountain, now living in the Waterside, which deals with a specific experience of intimidation.


Initial contact within the Gobnascale community was with the Family Centre, through which the progress of setting up a new community organisation in the area was monitored. This new organisation was to be representative of all interests in the area and its development had been supported by the Family Centre. The Family Centre also provided names of local residents who would be willing to be interviewed and disseminated information about the project in the area. In the early months of 1995, the new community organisation was formed under the name Top of the Hill 2010 and in April, the Project Director acted as facilitator at a think-tank on the strategy for the area. This was of mutual benefit to the community and the project, and afforded an insight into the residents' aspiration and priorities for the area. The conduct of in-depth interviews also offered further perspectives into the issues and views of local residents.

Preliminary Fieldwork: the findings emerging to date

At this stage certain trends are emerging in the fieldwork, which can be summarised as follow.

    1. In both the Fountain and Gobnascale a sense of community is apparent. This is comprised of, in the case of The Fountain, a sense of the past, the population of older people, street patterns, family connections, and the walls of the city; in the case of Gobnascale, the location, the view, the family connections, and a sense of optimism about the improvements that have taken place in the area.

    2.The issue of commitment to the area is one which has emerged in both the Fountain and Gobnascale. In the Fountain commitment to the area is tested by the ability to stay in the area, and "drifters" - those who move in and don't stay-, "bad elements" all test the commitment of those who do stay in the area. In Gobnascale, such "drifters" were a feature of the 1980's, but now the area has a stable and growing population. Their commitment is amenities in the area, and in working across factions in the community opposed to one another, to achieve a common good.

    3. The issue of differences between residents within the enclave also emerged in both areas. In the Fountain, and in Gobnascale, differences between residents tended to be seen as problematic and destructive. In both areas factionalism and conflict between factions had occurred. Although Top of The Hill appears, at least on the surface, to have resolved some of these difficulties, they appear to be in the process of resolution in the Fountain.

    4.The issue of morale in the areas threw up some differences between the Fountain and Gobnascale. Whereas residents in the Top of The Hill were positive about the research, the researcher in the Fountain was often told that she had her work "cut out for her" coming to "sort us out". We are also told that in the Fountain, an area where there are substantial numbers of vacant houses, there is a long waiting list of residents waiting to move out. Conversely, there is a long waiting list for houses in Gobnascale.

    5.Our preliminary findings on why people leave or have left the areas are tentative at this stage. In the Fountain, housing of a bad quality, or the wrong type was mentioned as a reason for leaving. Also mentioned was the movement of "drifters" or "bad elements" into the area, and having a young family was seen as a reason for within to leave to avoid these influences.

    In Gobnascale/Top of the Hill, these factors also featured, but gender- namely the prospect of rearing sons in the area was cited as a reason for leaving - for fear of sons becoming " involved". Direct experience of, for example car hi-jacking was also mentioned as a reason for leaving, and constant police and army presence and the stopping of people on the street was also mentioned as a factor in people wanting to leave.

    Intimidation was mentioned in both areas, and led to people moving into both enclaves, from neighbouring mixed areas. Attacks on the area - the Annie's Bar killings in 1972 in Gobnascale were mentioned as having generated fear in the area, and in the Fountain ongoing stoning and attacks on the area were mentioned. Fountain residents also mentioned lying, if asked where they were from, and being secretive about contact with "the other side" in case of being perceived as a traitor.

    6. We were given various reasons for staying in each of the enclave areas. In the Fountain, staying was seen as an act of defiance a "No surrender" stand. In both area the inability to afford to move out was mentioned, and in both areas, family ties, and the proximity of relatives were cited as reasons for staying. In Gobnascale, a hypothesis emerged about a possible "fight or flight" reaction to the issue of staying or moving, with residents either staying and fighting or moving out without challenging, for example, local street fighting or vandalism.

    In the Fountain, the availability of help from Unionist politicians in securing alternative housing outside the area was also mentioned as a factor in people leaving the area.

    In Gobnascale it appears as Cityside people who moved to Gobnascale in the 1970's have adopted the area as "home" whereas those who moved in the 1980's were less likely to stay. Residents reported being questioned by Catholics from the Cityside about " how they could stick it" in the Waterside.

    7. Differences between the areas. On Gobnascale , the availability of good quality privately owned housing within the area means that residents can be "upwardly mobile", yet remain within the area, whilst this is not the case in the Fountain. Fountain residents also experience the difficulties and advantages associated with being a city centre community: traffic flow, and excessive non-resident car parking yet easy access to the city centre.

    8. Engagement in dialogue. In both communities, issues about engaging in open discussion about issues related to sectarian division have emerged. In the Fountain, the discussion of the future of the fence around the area was perceived as threatening when it took place outside the area. Being seen to talk to the "other side" or acknowledging that people do talk to the "other side" is also seen as risky, and potentially disloyal. Similarly talking to the R.U.C. is problematic within the Catholic community because of the danger of being seen to "collaborate" with the police, and , potentially lose credibility within sections of the Catholic community.

Creating a climate of public discussion

An important tool to and aim of research which seeks to activate a process and movement beyond, is dialogue. As Paulo Freire conceptualised it, dialogue operates as a tool which may bring together/integrate the processes of inquiry and intervention. At the planning stage of the project we anticipated that the presentation of the final findings of the fieldwork would take place in venues where people feel safest and most free to engage in dialogue and that this would emerge more clearly in the course of the work. At that time we saw the presentation of results as a final stage of the project. However, with the unexpected advent of the cease-fires, the project began to be aware of the possibility of ongoing presentation of research material, - our own and that of other people - as something which would generate debate and discussion in a newly developing climate where the threat of violence was removed. The project therefore designed and ran a public seminar series, which facilitated public discussion on aspects of sectarian division and segregation.

The topics addressed in the meetings were:

"The name of the city: Derry or Londonderry";
" Should the fence around the Fountain be removed?" (for Fountain residents only).
" Is segregation desirable? Should the high fences and peacelines be removed?" (public meeting)
"Territoriality and Protestant Communities" (this seminar was cancelled)
"Changing Population Balance and Protestant Drift":
" Alienation and Loyalism."
" Two Minority Experiences: The Shankill and the Falls Communities in West Belfast" and "The Impact of Violence and Intimidation on Segregated Communities".

The work of creating public dialogue will continue with a series of public "hearings" in October and November 1995 which will offer a platform to various minority groups in the city to describe their experience of living as a minority.

The citywide and wider dimension
In addition to the work in the two communities, the action-research aspect of the project, and the work on generating dialogue has given it a wider dimension. The project has consciously set out to facilitate discussion and exchange of views on issues related to sectarian division, and the method of doing this has been the seminar series, discussed under another heading. The media coverage of this series and of Templegrove's work as a whole has led the project to be known about beyond the communities being studied, and the project has attracted the interest of a number of interested individuals. The Board of Templegrove has adapted the mechanism of alternating between open and closed Board meetings and inviting these individuals to open Board meetings at which a research briefing is provided, and a discussion of the work of the project is engaged in.


Segregation in context

How important is residential segregation in understanding the politics of Northern Ireland? How widespread is it? To what extent does it structure social and political relations in Northern Ireland? Whyte (1990)states:

Segregation at work affects only a minority of workers. Differing patterns of voluntary activities complement and strengthen other divisions, but are not by themselves claimed by any author to be of primary importance. Residential segregation is important in some areas: indeed it may be the most important factor of all in keeping the communities divided for the 35-40 per cent who are affected by it. But that leaves 60-5 per cent who are not. The Churches themselves, and the Orange Order, certainly divide Protestant from Catholic, but they also divide Protestants from each other...The two factors which do most to divide Protestants as a whole from Catholics as a whole are endogamy and separate education...p44..

What functions does it perform?

Quite apart from the historic settlement patterns prior to the troubles which were already segregated to some extent, segregation has acted as a mechanism for handling the problem of the relationship between the two political/religious communities in Northern Ireland. This relationship has occurred within the context of British government, and within a power struggle on a dominance- subordination pivot. The relationship has been characterised by discrimination, power struggles, violence, coercion and intimidation. Segregation has been a strategy employed by communities to manage the real threat of violence and an attempt to create a safe and less threatening environment in which people can lead their daily lives. It has a number of intended and unintended consequences.

Safety. The issue of safety has a double edge in segregated areas, particularly in enclaves. Original reasons for segregation in the late 1960's were safety and solidarity against attack. Street battles, and the burning out of houses meant that many families fled to the safety of an area where they were "amongst their own." Yet in the two areas studied, the segregated nature of the areas has also meant that they are targeted for attack. In Gobnascale, the Annie's Bar killings in 1972, and in The Fountain, the killings of William King and Bobby Stott were possible because enclave areas were a obvious place to select a target. Ongoing sectarian attacks continue on the periphery of both areas at the time of writing. In the case of The Fountain, there is some evidence to suggest that, since the cease-fires, incursions into The Fountain have been more "daring", going further and further into the area to put a brick through someone's window or to slash car tyres, now that the threat of paramilitary retaliation is suspended. In Gobnascale, attacks occur largely on the access road to the estate, which passes alongside a working class Protestant estate, and take the form of male on male violence. Similar male on male violence occurs in the city centre, experienced by young men from the Fountain, who avoid going into the city centre as a result.

Whilst it may feel safer to live in an enclave area, the evidence to support this view is ambiguous. North Belfast, a highly segregated area, with a considerable number of enclaves has experienced more than its proportional share of the violence in the last 25 years. Whilst one may feel secure in retreating behind the boundaries of an enclave, one's presence within such an area is tantamount to a public statement about one's identity. Those seeking to conduct a violent attack on the "other" community find a ready made target in such an area. The stigma attached to such areas - and the projection onto them of the "bad" area label, thereby attributing to all residents extreme political views and bigotry may act as a pseudo-justification for such attacks.


Enclave areas in general have a stigma attached to them: - residents have a consciousness of living in a "bad area", and this impact on both personal and community identity. In both areas, we found that residents had ways of dealing with this when outside the area. Some Gobnascale residents refused to call the area "Gobnascale" but preferred to call it the more generic "Top of the Hill" which includes some privately owned housing, thus creating a wider and more ambiguous identity for themselves. Some Fountain residents reported fear in identifying themselves as Fountain residents when in the city centre. This fear is largely due to the threat of violence. However, the stigma attached to such areas may have some collective significance in the wider society. If "bad" areas exist, then so must "good" areas. The existence of "bad" areas allows the effect of the troubles, and the "bad men" to be metaphorically quarantined, leaving the rest of the country apparently "trouble-free" or "sectarian-free" zones. Such attribution of trouble, violence, extremism, terrorism, and so on, to enclaves or to segregated areas, also supports the "men of violence" thesis for the causation of the conflict, whilst denying any more widespread or systemic causes. It is the "one bad apple" construction, which then justifies the saturation of enclaves with security presence, and the resultant over-policing and stigmatising of residents.


Precisely because these communities formed and consolidated around safety issues and gathered together against an outside threat, the collective identity and consciousness is very strong. Violent attack on any individual in the community is often perceived as an attack on the entire enclave community itself. The Annie's Bar shooting in Gobnascale was not merely an attack on a bar, but an attack on the entire community. In a wider sense, it is also perceived, beyond the area, as an attack on the entire Catholic community of Northern Ireland.

The issues of personal and community identity appear to be connected. Kennedy (1983) discussing this, cites Burton's (1978) study of "Anro", a Belfast enclave community. Burton discusses the interconnection between community, family and personal identity:

    "in an attempt to reconstruct order out of chaos, there is a delicate interplay between anomie and solidarity, between collective disturbance of the ordinary and periodic waves of the collective consciousness."

Kennedy goes on to say:

    "Anomie here refers to the condition in which 'existing knowledge and beliefs are no longer able to cope with a radically new situation'. Burton hypotheses that many of the radical changes have been absorbed by the social structure itself e.g. the kinship network in Anro makes a private loss a public one."

In the intervening years since Burton's study, the initial chaos with which these enclave areas were formed has become somewhat settled. However, memories of the period of chaos and the street battles which led to the movement of people into segregated living remain a prominent part of the history, and were frequently referred to in our interviews. Commonly held beliefs have incorporated the experiences of people in the area. Scepticism with the authorities and the ability of government agencies to desire or to achieve positive change in the area appears to be part of the community belief system in both the Catholic and the Protestant enclaves.

Community identity

In both areas, the achievement and maintenance of a cohesive community identity was considered crucial by virtually all those we interviewed. To be a "real" community as Kennedy points out,

    "generally focuses on such factors as kinship, multi-generational residence, locality, community sentiment, and social coherence..."

Kennedy remarks on

    " the ability of the [residents in Anro] to draw up and verbalise the demarcation with the degree of consensus and consistency with which those in Anro were apparently able to do. Anro appeared to have the consensus of territoriality usually associated with small island populations. is one thing... to internalise one's identified place within a strongly kinship-based area of social solidarity and another thing to frequently verbalise this identification. It infers that it is, or was, necessary to call one's assumptions and knowledge about 'belonging' to a cognitive position and verbalise them. This reflects the extent to which Anro people have experienced themselves to be under threat."

Kennedy implies that the frequently verbalise their identification with "Anro" is related to their experience of threat and is therefore some form of mechanism designed to neutralise or otherwise cope with the threat. In both of the areas we work in, strong identification with the area is also a feature. Gobnascale residents frequently speak of "commitment" to the area, of loving the view from the estate, of wanting things to improve. A newly formed community association is energetically pursuing a range of issues in order to achieve such improvements. Fountain residents were more pessimistic, to begin with, about the prospects for their area, but no less concerned. They worried about resources for the area, they suspected the authorities intentions and commitment to the future of the area. They see the area as of significance, not just to themselves, but to the Protestant community of Northern Ireland, because of the Seige of Derry and the historic sites within the city. One residents speaks of the "Seige Mentality" within the area and of the importance of The Fountain remaining a Protestant enclave within the city. In both areas, family ties, and the presence of extended family within the area was cited as a motivation for remaining within the area. Such ties appear to be highly significant in maintaining cohesion within the community and in making people want to stay in the area.

In both areas, splits within the community which threatened community cohesion and the possibility of a unified community identity occurred along ostensibly political lines, which may also have a class- aspirational basis to them. In both areas, splits occurred between supporters of political parties who are associated with or construed to be supportive of paramilitary activity and with large working class support and those who support political parties who are critical of violence and who have more middle class support. In Gobnascale, the split occurred between Sinn Fein supporters and supporters of the SDLP, and in The Fountain, the split was between the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party. In Gobnascale, much has been achieved to heal the split and the new community association enjoys unified community support. In The Fountain, the work is ongoing, but progress has been made in the last few months.

Does segregation work? Is it a good or a bad thing?

Murtagh (1994)has questioned the orthodox view that segregation is necessarily negative or entirely problematic. We have differentiated elsewhere (Smyth, 1995) between segregation as a principle and segregation as a strategy.

    'We recognise that strategically people have adopted segregation as a method of coping with violence and conflict. We do not argue for segregation in principle. The principle we argue is that of making choices available to people in order to respect their fears and lifestyles...Ultimately, if we succeed in establishing a permanent peace, we anticipate that many of the reasons for segregated living will disappear. Until that occurs, segregated living as a choice for people must be available and the reasons for it understood and respected." (Smyth, 1995, p15.)

The ongoing work described in this paper suggests that segregation performs two main positive functions:-it increases the sense of safety and allows distancing from danger and it allows and indeed requires the development and reinforcement of community culture, links and solidarity. However, concern about the detrimental effects of segregation is what leads many to oppose it - usually on principle, when its use is often strategic. What are these detrimental effects, if any? Whyte (1990) writes,

    "Segregation by itself does not necessarily make for conflict. Aunger (1981) has shown in his comparative study of New Brunswick and Northern Ireland that French and English speakers in New Brunswick are at least as segregated as are Protestant and Catholic in Northern Ireland. Studies of Dutch society show that, at any rate until the recent past, Catholic and Protestant were if anything more segregated from each other than are their co-religionists in Northern Ireland (Goudsblom 1967; Lijphart 1975; Bakvis, 1981.) Yet neither in New Brunswick or nor in The Netherlands is there remotely the same degree of bitterness as in Northern Ireland. What segregation can do is exacerbate conflict - by increasing mutual ignorance and fostering the growth of stereotypes - in a situation where other reasons for conflict exist." (Whyte, 1990, p50)

Does segregation increases prejudice? Not all authors have agreed that it does. Some see integration as a way forward, and have argued that it plays a role in prejudice reduction. Fraser (1973, 128-42), Heskin (1980, 144-7) and Murray (1985, 91-105, 120-3) have both argued that segregated education allows prejudice to flourish. McWhirter (1983)has argued that integrated education will diminish prejudice. This has been contradicted by Rose (1971, 336-7) and by Trew (1986, 102) who found that integrated education made little difference to children's attitudes. To some extent, the strength of any of these positions depends on the importance accorded to prejudice in causing or contributing to the conflict. Given the original motivation for the increase in segregation at the beginning of the troubles, namely personal safety and the desire to live with less fear, the question which must arise is this: does segregation do more damage than remaining in a situation where violence and intimidation are rife? Surely violent or fearful contact with the other community will do little to reduce prejudice. Yet that was the choice which faced many who moved to segregated areas.

Yet the effect of living in a community which is religiously or politically homogenous must concern us. Does such an environment reinforce the possibility of rigid and fixed world views by constraining possible dialogue? Consciousness of being different from surrounding area can lead to a sense of isolation. Strong social cohesion within area, a "we can do it ourselves" attitude, can weaken links with surrounding hinterland, these links being impossible with the immediate hinterland because of the sectarian dimension. Links with the immediate hinterland may be made to negotiate about sectarian attack. When such contacts are made, they are often secret and considered to be high risk. Making such links are perceived as a threat to loyalty and challenge to social cohesiveness of the area - letting in the enemy. Links beyond the hinterland are difficult to make for any community with limited economic resources and community expertise. for these communities with their historic preoccupation with safety, strong kinship and internal cohesion and ties, it is virtually impossible.

As a result of the research to date, we revisited the literature on sectarian segregation. The literature on Northern Ireland has addressed the issue of residential segregation as one of primary concern.(Jones, 1956; Barrit and Carter, 1962; Boal 1969; Boal, 1971; Poole and Boal, 1973; Boal, Murray and Poole, 1976; Darby and Morris, 1974; Poole, 1982; Compton and Power, (1986) - based on the 1981 census; Smith, 1987; Darby, 1986; i.e. in housing. Other forms of segregation have been which identified are workplace segregation (Barritt and Carter, 1962; Rose, 1971; Moxon Browne, 1981; Chambers, 1987.) sport, leisure and voluntary including trades union activity (Barritt and Carter, 1962; Harris, 1972; Darby, 1976; Galway, 1978; Buckley, 1982; endogamy (Harris, 1972; Rose, 1971; Moxon Browne, 1982; Compton and Coward, 1989; Smith, 1987; Buckley, 1982; McFarlane,1979) education (Murray, 1985; Barritt and Carter, 1962; Darby et al, 1977; Cairns, 1987; Fraser, 1973; Heskin, 1980; McWhirter, 1983; Trew. 1986; Dunn,1984; Osborne and Cormack, 1989; Austin, 1986; Fee, 1980.

Whilst the work in the project has been concentrated primarily on residential segregation, we have become increasingly aware of the interrelations between, for example sectarian segregation and class or gender segregation, or other forms of political segregation. It is noteworthy that in the literature on Northern Ireland, with one exception, (Fee, 1980) no author problematises forms of segregation other than sectarian segregation. Yet class and gender segregation are prevalent and co-exist and impact on sectarian division. The question of whether class segregation fosters class prejudice and division, or whether gender segregation perpetuates the subordination of women are virtually unaddressed in the literature.

We will take class aspects of housing segregation as an example. Housing choice is primarily determined by economic resources at a family or individual's disposal. The family or individual is consigned primarily by economic circumstances, to a section of the housing market: owner occupation, public housing or the private rented sector. The sector which the person enters (in which s/he is more or less class-segregated) will determine their choices in relation to sectarian segregation. [There is a myth, in some quarters, that middle class housing is not segregated. A remark overheard in Derry in early 1995, made by a Protestant business man who lives in an expensive privately owned housing development, belies this. Another man explained to this man that the person who had bought the house next to his was Catholic. His response was, "That's one on either side of me now. It's time I moved."]

Similarly, certain aspects of sectarian segregation are considered as obviously problematic and taken seriously by policy makers and analysts, - spatial, i.e. residential (i.e. housing) and institutional(occupational and educational) segregation - whereas other forms of segregation - in public and private discourse, for example,- are relegated to the realms of "psychologising" a political problem, as if discourse was unrelated to politics, or was unresponsive to public policy, or unworthy of "serious" academic attention.

As a result of these concerns, the definition of sectarian segregation used in the research has broadened. It appears that segregation can take a number of forms. Most commonly, and of undoubted importance segregation is a material fact, with a spatial, concrete environmental reality, as in housing segregation. This is perhaps the most visible and dramatic form of segregation, with concrete manifestations such as peace lines and barbed wire to remind us of its existence. Residential segregation is, in its most obvious and dramatic manifestations, largely a working class phenomenon and co-exists with class segregation and poverty. Murtagh (1994) has pointed out that enclave areas in particular score higher on social deprivation indices than other working class areas. Institutional segregation is manifest in first and second level education, legal practice, and in social institutions such as sport. Economic segregation is manifest in occupational segregation, and in patterns of economic development. However, it is political segregation, - the refusal to talk to certain parties, groups or occupations -, and ideological segregation, -the refusal to engage with certain ideas- that potentially inhibit the possibility of political progress at present. Clearly, political and ideological segregation is practised not only by the two communities in the North, but also structures the relationships of others with the two communities and has also been a matter of government policy. We argue that this is supported and conditioned by social segregation, namely the tendency to mix with those from one's own political community and avoid, consciously or unconsciously, those from the other community and by interpersonal segregation, namely the use of silence and avoidance of certain issues in "mixed" company, a fear /flight or fight reaction to issues of division and the practice of identity management and social alibis. Interpersonal segregation, where parts of identity or experience are denied and cordoned off, and where identity is "managed" according to those splits, makes for an internal or personal world of fear, secrets, silence, unresolved trauma, polarised loyalties, anger, and hatred at a personal level. This last form of segregation requires no physical or visible boundary or separation: it is prevalent in the society, and does not always co-exist with other forms of segregation, yet it performs many of the same functions, in terms of maintaining feelings of safety. However, social, political and psychological change rarely feels safe.

Segregation is sometimes blatant and obvious: we can see peace lines or boundary fences and see the barbed wire of the material reality of segregation. The existence of segregated (read working class or poor) communities allows the middle class world to project onto such areas the image of the "bad" area where bigots live, and violence happens as a result. Our work and that of others, (Murtagh, 1994) in enclave areas challenges this. This projection of the "badness" onto such areas allows the illusion of a "normal" society in which there are a few "bad apples" to be perpetuated. Sectarianism, as a systemic phenomenon, located within a larger context of contested sovereignty, is a social system is composed of a number of interacting and interdependent parts. Ideological, institutional, and collective aspects of sectarianism sit alongside and reify the interpersonal and interpersonal aspects.

Segregation, as a strategy for managing life within such a social system, is manifest at all levels.

Segregation, in summary, has both a material/spatial aspect in the form of residential segregation, and an ideological aspect, in terms of identity management, and restrictions on discourse between members of the two communities, (and with government representatives). Segregation can be used as a strategy, or on principle, and segregation has intended and unintended consequences.

In the wake of the current cease-fires, Douglas Hurd suggested that the peace lines be taken down, and this suggestion has been repeated since then by other politicians. There was predictable resistance to this suggestion from within enclave communities. That the suggestion was made reveals much about governmental understanding of what the problem is: the "men of violence". The perception would appear to be that now that the violence has stopped, everything,- including the peacelines can get back to "normal".

Segregation can be seen as both resistance and an attempt at control. We have already discussed how segregation has represented a community's resistance to intimidation and the threat of violence by establishing and demarcating "safe" areas within which the life of the community can continue. Segregation can be seen as a reaction to wholesale upheaval in the late 1960's and an attempt to regain control over a community's living environment against the onslaught of attack from outside. Similarly, segregation can be seen as resistance to threats to the political or religious identity of a community, or its "freedom" to express that identity. Finally, segregation can be seen as resistance to outside influence in the form of attempts at domination. Segregation can also be seen as resistance to measures which represent to the community the prospect of social disintegration. The community, in response, establishes and/or strengthens its perimeter boundary -either physical or ideological in order to maintain its autonomy or in order to survive.

Residential segregation, in this study, also acts as a control of contact with the other community, - both materially, by physical distance, and ideologically by the refusal to talk. By construing such dialogue as does exist as dangerous, disloyal, or concessionary to interests antipathetic to the community, ideological distance, and therefore ideological autonomy is maintained. The refusal to talk can thus be construed as a form of ideological segregation. As such, the refusal to talk can be seen as an attempt to retain/regain control over a conflict or contest in which the interests or political territory of the community is in question. The refusal to talk is a form of resistance, where the control of the parameters of the transaction but make it impossible for the " other" to treat you as an equal, or to be equal: talking can thus be seen as taking control; not talking can be seen as resistance.

Physical segregation also represents an attempt to maintain control of the area by one community in that community's interests, and this includes the control of the political climate of the area. This means that engaging in discussions with certain interests (for example the police in the case of the Catholic community or Sinn Fein in the case of the Protestant community) is seen as threatening to the autonomy or "best interests" of that community. As we have seen in the fieldwork, however, none of these forms of segregation prevent internal divisions from within each community from emerging. A new site of struggle for control of the community emerged in both communities, - within each of the communities themselves.

Questions arise about the extent to which people in residentially segregated areas have actually succeeded in controlling their environments. A number of extraneous influences restrict the attempts at autonomy within such areas:

1. The activities - or lack of activity- on the part of planning and government authorities. This has been dealt with at greater length elsewhere (Smyth, 1995).

2. Economic factors - unemployment within the area and "upward" migration into private housing outside the area

3.Sectarian attack on the area from the outside world

4. Official policing practices

An ongoing battle for control over such areas results. This has taken the form of virtual "no go" areas for police or outside authorities: the realities of unemployment has meant the subversion of the official economy in some cases by an informal and unofficial economy;

fear of attack, the actuality of ongoing attack, has led to the establishment of security fences and "vigilante" type activity from within the area: the need for social control over vandalism and "anti-social behaviour" within the area has led to paramilitary policing within Catholic areas particularly, and in the Protestant area, the experience of policing during the Stevens enquiry has led to a certain amount of suspicion about the police.

Intra area Resistance Control
picket on car parking(F)
resistance to tannery(G)
local community associations
clean up campaign
Fountain Area Partnership
Economy Refused to leave / move out Beginnings of community initiatives
Social Fabric
Close knit neighbourhoods
Strong kinship patterns
"overstated" identification
with area: loyalty &
commitment: strong positive
views of aspects of area/
sense of significance of area
for outside world
concern with drugs/vandalism
social provision (preventive &
remedial) by local groups
Security fence (F)
no-man's land (G)
avoidance of certain
routes /areas
negotiation with "other" community
(secret F)
paramilitary activity (protection)

stoning & attacks on
negotiation with police (F)
complaints about police

The extent to which the strong cohesion which has been necessary for the survival of enclave areas mitigates against networking and community development is one area for concern. Strong inter community bonds may render the impulse to outside relations and contacts very weak, and perhaps dogged with suspicion. Awareness within the enclave of how different life elsewhere is (visitors to Gobnascale ask residents "How can you live here?") can be limited. The history and experience of segregated communities has equipped them to effectively resist outside "malign" influences. This may have resulted in communities which are better at resistance than at incorporation. This may need to be addressed in the changing circumstances which the cease-fire and subsequent political developments have represented. Segregated communities may require experience of outside influences which are perceived to be less malign, otherwise this limitation may act to prevent the development of political thinking and awareness of outside perspectives. The extent to which cohesion and internal solidarity may present another aspect of resistance - that of resistance to change - remains to be seen.


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