Policy versus practice: The circulation of Good Relations values in Northern Ireland.

Lubit, A. (Participant)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


In Northern Ireland, the concept of Good Relations emphasizes values of cultural diversity by promoting contact and relationships “between persons of different religious belief, political or racial group.” Having grown out of the 1998 peace agreement, Good Relations is a concept prioritized and promoted in public policy, funding and programming. It assigns value to the idea of a diverse, peaceful and shared society. Although initially focused upon the two dominant communities of Protestants and Catholics, in recent years this concept has increasingly incorporated growing numbers of migrants and minorities.

In the city of Belfast, a variety of programmes receive Good Relations funding by incorporating the values of diversity, peace and shared space into their activities. With Good Relations values as ideals, they arrange closed-group and public events that allow for different degrees of value circulation to occur between migrant, minority and native Northern Ireland populations. Using participant observation, as part of a broader ethnography on place-making and belonging, I have observed three particular types. First, certain public events fail to attract a cross-cultural audience (e.g. African culture night only attracting people of African descent) making the circulation of values impossible. Second, some events do bring together individuals from different backgrounds yet create an environment where participants fail to engage with one another, limiting the circulation of values. A subset of these events place minorities in the position of object, performing their culture to educate and entertain. Third, other events attract diverse individuals and create rich opportunities for communication, sharing, and learning about one another, engaging in the Good Relations values of diversity, peace and sharing.
PeriodJun 2020
Event title17th IMISCOE Annual Conference: null
Event typeConference
LocationLuxembourg, Luxembourg
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Value Circulation
  • Migrants
  • Social Cohesion
  • Refugees