For many years Northern Ireland has been a divided society where members of the two main religious groups, Catholics and Protestants, have limited opportunities to interact due to segregation in their social lives. Attempts have been made to encourage religious mixing through integration in schools, housing and workplaces predicated on the theory that bringing people together can improve community relations and remove prejudices – known as the ‘contact hypothesis’. However, little is known about those who enter into mixed-religion partnerships often against the wishes of their families and communities. This paper examines the characteristics and attitudes of mixed-religion couples and suggests that they differ in their socio-demographic characteristics and in their attitudes from those who marry within their own religion. These findings add to the weight of evidence from other countries in conflict suggesting that intermarriage has a role to play in contributing to less sectarian views and improved community relations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science