Understanding Racial Tensions in Northern Ireland: Threat, Paranoia and the Fear of Loss

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    Abstract

    This paper will explore the development of increased group tensions in Northern Ireland
    over the past decade with a special emphasis being placed upon rising racial tensions in cities such
    as Belfast and Lisburn. The paper will analyse why Northern Ireland has been described as the new
    race-hate capital of Europe and, through a case-study of Loyalism, will argue that if this growth in
    racist sentiment is to be prevented, more needs to be done to understand the causes of such feeling,
    particularly within loyalist working-class areas. I will argue that society as a whole needs to address
    the fears and anxieties of those that perceive themselves to be under threat from the recent increase
    in immigration or else we risk creating a new cause célèbre for those that would seek to extend the
    lifetime of our paramilitary organisations. Moreover, at a time when loyalist communities feel politically
    alienated and lacking representation, there is a real danger of British far-right groups exploiting the
    situation and making long-term political capital.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-226
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations
    Volume10
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Racism, Loyalist Alienation, Community Conflict, Social Class Division

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