Community, conflict and rural planning in Northern Ireland

Brendan Murtagh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The geography of urban ethnic conflict has been extensively researched and described in Northern Ireland. By comparison the literature on rural areas is weak and confined mainly to ethnographic accounts of life in farming communities. This paper offers some limited redress by focusing on a spatial analysis of two villages in mid-County Armagh, an area that has experienced some of the worst internecine conflict over the last 27 years. The paper begins by exploring key concepts in urban segregation including 'critical mass', 'tipping point' and 'institutional completeness' and argues their relevance to understanding divided rural communities. This is followed by a review of the literature on rural conflict in Northern Ireland which debates the relative importance of kinship, locality, social class and religious cleavages. The importance of demographic shifts are highlighted leading to a case study describing the experiences of a marginalized and polarized enclave Protestant village. The implications for policy makers are set out focusing on the need to build these issues into a more inclusive definition of rural planning and sustainable regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Community, conflict and rural planning in Northern Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this