‘Devout, profane and hard’, – chasing integration policy in Northern Ireland

Ulrike M. Vieten*, Fiona Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Downloads (Pure)


This paper considers the experience of asylum seekers and refugees in Northern Ireland against the background of different periods of non-governance, arguing that consociationalism is hindering the implementation of an integration strategy. Northern Ireland is one of the only regions in the UK without a dedicated refugee integration strategy, in spite of one existing in draft form. As a devolved region, it sits outside the UK policy of asylum dispersal, but has to adhere to UK immigration legal policy. Northern Ireland has, however, the power to create and embed refugee integration policies and strategies as a devolved region. We seek to problematize the notion of refugee ‘integration’ within the context of a divided society, thereby questioning what it is asylum seekers and refugees are being asked to do within this discourse of integration. In a context where sectarianism continues to shape the spatial and social infrastructures, this is even more complex an aspiration.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSpace and Polity
Early online date22 Sept 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 22 Sept 2023


  • Migrants
  • Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Sectarian Omnipresence
  • Consociationalism
  • Integration Policy
  • Social Inclusion
  • Northern Ireland


Dive into the research topics of '‘Devout, profane and hard’, – chasing integration policy in Northern Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this