The project involved a survey of 982 people drawn from the Northern
Ireland population and interviewed in their homes by trained interviewers
from Research and Evaluation Services. The survey was the first
to employ a range of methods to establish the nature, importance,
and strength of socio-political identities to people in Northern
Ireland. Asked to select one identity from an array of 11, the
predominant identifications were national (British, Irish) and
religious identities (Protestant, Catholic). Political identities
(unionist, nationalist) attracted very few people. The choice
of second identity mainly produced the expected identity combinations
(British-Protestant, Irish-Catholic). Overall, age, gender, occupational
group and area of residence were associated with some minor variation
in the relative attraction of the identity labels rather than
the substantial differences observed in the identity choices of
those from Protestant and Catholic community backgrounds. The
analysis of the survey data enabled us to provide profiles of
those who identified themselves as British Protestant, Catholic
Irish or Northern Irish. For example, the Northern Irish identity
was the third most popular identity choice for both Protestants
and Catholics. Those who chose it evaluated it highly but not
as highly as those of other identities. Overall the survey highlighted
the multifaceted nature of identification. As well as the traditional
divisions there were signs of flexibility and similarity.
Trew, K and Benson, D. (In press). Defining ourselves. Dimensions of Social Identity in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies.
Trew, K, Cox, C and Ward, P. (1995). Dimensions of Social Identity in Northern Ireland. Report.
Trew, K. (1996). Complementary of Conflicting Identities. The Psychologist. pp. 460-463.
Trew, K and Benson, D. (1996). The Salience and Authenticity
of Socio-political Identities in Northern Ireland. International
Journal of Psychology, 31, 302.