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Life in Two Enclave Areas. Chapter 3: Segregated Living



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Text: Ruth Moore and Marie Smyth ... Page Compiled: Fionnuala McKenna

3. SEGREGATED LIVING

We were interested in respondents' views about life in enclave areas, and about the impact of segregation on the quality of life. Segregation, however, for those who have lived in relatively homogenous areas all their lives, may not be a concept which is seen as relevant to them, or that they can identify with. To begin with, therefore, we asked people the following question:

      19. Segregation is widespread in Northern Ireland and takes a number of
      different forms. We are interested in housing segregation. Do you see the
      *Fountain/ Gobnascale as a segregated area?

      (* questionnaires in the Fountain said "Fountain"only and in Gobnascale said
      "Gobnascale" only)

Responses from each area are shown in the table below.

Table 29 : Perception of area as segregated:
Numbers and percentages from each community responding in each category

Do you see area as
segregated
Gobnascale Fountain Gobnascale
%
Fountain
%
level of
significance
Yes

186

93

70

77

.
No

49

22

19

18

.
No response

29

6

11

5

.
Total

264

.121

100

.100

NS

Thus we can see that 70% or more in each community see the area as segregated, with 7% more Fountain respondents seeing their area as segregated, while 19% of Gobnascale respondents and 18% of Fountain residents did not see the area as segregated. This can be depicted diagrammatically, as seen below. That such a sizeable proportion of each community should not see their area as segregated, and that there is no significant difference between the two communities on this question, may seem strange to the outsider. From the qualitative work, however, we learned that the stigma attached to living in a segregated area - often regarded as a "bad" area is something which some residents seek to avoid. A number of strategies can be employed in order to achieve this, for example, Gobnascale residents referring to the area as "Top of the Hill", and Fountain residents seeking to avoid declaring that they lived in the Fountain. This reluctance to identify the area as segregated could be related to these "stigma management" strategies, as well as perhaps being designed to avoid sectarian attack. It is worth noting, however, that as we discuss segregated communities, roughly 20% of residents in each of the two communities we examined do not attach the label "segregated" to their community.









Graph
















Aspects of life in segregated communities

In earlier qualitative work, we became interested in the distinguishing features of life in enclave communities. From the in-depth interviews in each area, from general observations and from gleaning the results of earlier studies in Northern Ireland enclaves, (Murtagh, 1992) we constructed a list of characteristics of life in enclave areas. Question 20 asked respondents in both areas to examine the list of "some of the things that people say about living in a segregated community in Northern Ireland" and "say whether you agree or disagree that these are part of life in a segregated community." Responses from each community are shown in the following table.




Table 30 : Aspects of life in segregated communities
Percentages from each community responding in each category


Agree Disagree Don't
know
No
response
Gobna
scale
Fount
-ain
Gobna
ascale
Fount
tain
Gobna
scale
Foun tain
Gobna
scale
Foun
tain
- freedom from fear

42

29

19

36

19

16

19

20

- freedom to speak your mind

39

43

28

31

14

10

19

17

- confirms your sense of identity

44

52

14

14

14

12

28

21

- brings the community closer together

38

38

22

31

14

11

25

20

- loss of natural friendship with
people from the other community
41
37
23
39
14
6
22
18
- lack of understanding of the other
community

47

37

20

33

9

10

23

20

- loss of opportunity to learn about the
other community

46

33

18

37

10

7

25

22

- prevents political development and change

37

29

16

26

19

21

29

24

- a segregated community is
a sitting target for sectarian attacks

58

64

11

9

9

11

23

17

freedom to express your own culture

44

57

16

18

14

9

26

16

By far the most frequent item selected by residents in both areas was the statement, "a segregated community is a sitting target for sectarian attacks." There was some divergence between the two communities after this, but there was agreement that among the most important four statements about enclave communities were also "freedom to express your own culture", and "confirms your sense of identity". The Fountain ranked "freedom to speak your mind" among the top four - possibly related to being a Protestant community in a majority Catholic city - and Gobnascale ranked "loss of opportunity to learn about the other community" among the top four, perhaps for similar reasons. Thirty eight percent in both communities thought that segregation brought the community closer together.






Table 31 : Rank ordering of responses in each community on
characteristics of life in segregated areas

Gobnascale
rank
Fountain
rank
%
diverg
-ence
level of significance
question 20
- freedom from fear

6

9

13

.003

- freedom to speak your mind

8

4

4

NS

- confirms your sense of identity

4

3

8

NS

- brings the community closer together

9

5

0

NS

loss of natural friendship
with people from the other community

7

6

4

.003

- lack of understanding of the other
community

2

6

10

.O5

- loss of opportunity to learn about the
other community

3

8

13

.0007

- prevents political development and
change

10

9

8

.05

- a segregated community is
a sitting target for sectarian attacks

1

1

6

NS

- freedom to express your own culture

4

2

13

.02

Divergence was significant in six issues: "freedom from fear", "loss of natural friendship", "lack of understanding of other community", "loss of opportunity to learn about the other community", "prevents political development and change", and "freedom to express your own culture". Forty two percent of Gobnascale respondents thought that "freedom from fear" was a feature of segregated living, whereas only 29% of Fountain respondents thought so. The location of the Fountain is possibly an explanatory factor in this divergence, surrounded and highly visible in the city centre. although it may also be due to other differences between the two areas.

Forty six percent of Gobnascale residents felt that segregated living meant a "loss of opportunity to learn about the other community" whereas only 33% of Fountain residents thought so. Again, this is possibly related to the overall balance of population in the city, where the Catholic majority have made a significant impact on the city's culture, with Irish street names and other cultural innovations. As Baker Miller (1992) points out, the subordinate group always know more about the dominant group than the dominant group know about the subordinate group. Conversely, fifty seven percent of Fountain respondents thought that segregated meant " freedom to express your own culture", whereas this was indicated by only 44% of Gobnascale respondents. From the qualitative data, residents spoke of the "siege mentality" and the importance of remembering the siege through marches and annual commemorations. Living in a majority Catholic city in a segregated enclave, the capacity to express the culture of Protestantism and loyalism clearly influenced responses on this question.

Contact with the other community in the two communities

We asked a series of questions about the amount and kind of contact respondents had with people from the other community. From the earlier interviews, people in each of the communities had described relationships and friendships which crossed the sectarian divide prior to the trend of increased segregation becoming established, and prior to the "troubles". We began by asking about the people respondents socialised with. Question 26 on the questionnaire asked:

26. About how many of the people you socialise with would you say are
from the same community (i.e. Catholic or Protestant) as you?

Responses to question 26 are shown in the table and diagram below.

Table 32 : Same community contact: social life
Numbers and percentages in each community

People you socialise with
from same community


Gobnascale


Fountain


Gobnascale%


Fountain%

All

61

20

23

17

Most

112

39

42

32

Half

41

18

16

15

Less than half

27

23

10

19

None

3

6

1

5

Don't know

15

9

6

7

No response

5

6

2

5


Total


264


121


100


100

Responses to this question indicate that contact with the other community is low in both areas, but is significantly less (.008) in Gobnascale than in the Fountain. Twenty three percent of respondents in Gobnascale and 17% in the Fountain said that all of the people they socialise with are from the same community as themselves. This can be represented diagrammatically (see following table).





Graph






















When the cumulative percentages in each community are calculated, it emerges that 65% of Gobnascale respondents have a social life, all or most of which is with people from the Catholic community. The equivalent figure for the Fountain is 64%. (see table below)

Table 33 : Same community contact: social life
Cumulative percentages in each community

People you socialise
with from same
community

Gobnascale
%

Gobnascale
cum. %

Fountain
%

Fountain
cum. %
All

23

23

17

17

Most

42

65

32

49

Half

16

81

15

64

From the qualitative data, we knew that in each area, there were a number of mixed marriages and cross community relationships, so we then asked about relatives, including relatives by marriage. The results are shown in the table below, and represented in the subsequent diagram.


Table 34 : Same community contact: relatives
Numbers and percentages in each community

Relatives from same
community
Gobnascale
Fountain
Gobna
scale %
Foun
tain %
All
93
41
35
34
Most
85
45
32
37
Half
32
6
12
5
Less than half
24
5
9
4
None
6
9
2
7
Don't know
15
7
6
6
No response
9
8
3
7
Total
264
121
99
100

Graph









Again, the picture which emerges is that over three quarters of respondents in both communities have half or more than half of their relatives came from the same community as they are from. This is clear when the cumulative percentages are calculated, as in the table below. Again the trend towards homogeneity amongst family members was reported more frequently by Gobnascale respondents, and the differences between the two areas were significant (.01). This is possibly related to the overall population balance in the city, where Protestants are in a minority in the city as a whole.


Table 35 : Same community contact: relatives
Cumulative percentages in each community

Relatives
from same
community


Gobnascale
%


Gobnascale
cum. %


Fountain
%


Fountain
cum. %

All
35
35
34
34
Most
32
67
37
71
Half
12
79
5
76


Same community contact: neighbours

Finally, we asked people whether their neighbours, as far as they knew, were from the same community as them. Responses to this question are shown in the table below and the following diagram.

Table 36 : Same community contact: neighbours
Numbers and percentages in each community

Neighbours
from same
community

Gobnascale
%

Fountain
cum. %

Gobnascale
%

Fountain
cum. %
All
152
47
58
39
Most
57
32
22
26
Half
3
8
1
7
Less than half
8
6
3
5
None
9
5
3
4
Don't know
27
17
10
14
No response
8
6
3
5
Total
264
121
100
100

GRAPH







When we examine the cumulative percentages, (see table below) we discover that 81% of Gobnascale respondents and 72% of Fountain respondents thought that between half and all of their neighbours were from the same community as they were, and again the differences between the two communities were significant (.006) . From the data on the religious composition of the two samples, we know that both are predominantly either Catholic or Protestant. (The Fountain sample was 84% Protestant and the Gobnascale sample was 94% Catholic.) Variations in the answers to this question could be due to simply misunderstanding the question, or to a resistance, noted in earlier question, to identifying the area as segregated, which can be tantamount in the eyes of some to being labelled "sectarian". Another explanation is that some of the more isolated residents are unaware of the composition of the area, and several respondents commented that some of the questions were "a bit near the knuckle" or sensitive, and this is, perhaps, reflected in the response to this question and to the overall response rate.

Table 37 : Same community contact: neighbours
Cumulative percentages in each community

Neighbours
from same
community

Gobnascale
%

Gobnascale
cum. %

Fountain
%

Fountain
cum. %
All
58
58
39
39
Most
22
80
26
65
Half
1
81
7
72

One last question examined respondents reactions to the trend towards increased segregation in the city. Question 21 was as follows:

21. As you may be aware, the population balance in this city has changed
over the last 20 years from:

    5 Catholics to 2 Protestants in 1971 to
    11 Catholics to 2 Protestants in 1991.

Respondents were asked to tick any of a range of responses that described their reactions. The results of question 21 are shown in the following table.

Table 38 : Reaction to statistics on Protestants leaving the city
Numbers and percentages in each community

.
Gobnascale
Fountain
Gobnascale
%
Fountain
%
level
of sig

Total

264

121

100

100
.

Surprise

111

20

42

17

.0
Confirmed suspicions
about pop movement
44
36
17
30

.003
Anger that it is
happening
13
18
5
15

.0008
Sadness that it is
happening

52

44

20

36

.0004
Pleased that it is
happening

29

0

11

0

.0001
Concerned to change
this trend

16

17

6

14

.009
Don't care about trend
62
22
23
18
NS
Protestants moving
out are a loss to city

48

48

18

40

.00001

No longer mixed city

47

39

18

32

.001
Other response-
good thing

1

0

0

0
.
Other response -
bad thing

4

7

2

6
.
Other response-
don't care

3

4

1

3
total
other
.04
No response
16
7
6
6
.

It is noteworthy that there is no available data on attitudes in the city as a whole to the movement of Protestants out of the city with which to compare these data. At an earlier stage in the project, we engaged in some qualitative work on this issue, from which we established that there were some negative and some apathetic attitudes amongst the Catholic community, as well as some concern to arrest the deepening of segregation. In this context, the attitudes in these two communities appear, at an impressionistic level, to be congruent with attitudes we observed in the wider city area, although a study of the wider city attitudes would be required to establish this. Significant differences occurred between the two areas on all responses, with the exception of the "don't care" response. In all other cases, Fountain scores showed more concern about the change in population balance, with Gobnascale respondents showing more satisfaction about the trend.

In order to examine the findings in question 21, we organised the responses under three headings: positive , which include anger, "sadness", "concern to change the trend", "Protestants moving out are a loss to the city", "it is no longer a mixed city", and a number of "other" responses which fell into the same category; negative, which include "pleased that it is happening", and a number of other responses; and neutral, which include surprise, confirmed suspicions about population movement, don't care, and a number of "other" responses which fell into this category. We then calculated the numbers of positive negative and neutral responses for each community and the results are shown in the table below.

Table 39 : Aggregated scores on attitudes to Protestants leaving the city
Aggregated percentages in each community

.


Gobnascale


Fountain

Positive
69
143
Negative
11
0
Neutral
83
68

We found "negative" attitudes are non-existent in the Fountain community, not surprisingly, since the issue discussed touches on the welfare of Protestants in the city. However, 68% of Fountain respondents had neutral responses to the issue. It is possible that the attitude of "religion should not matter" has influenced respondents who hold that view, to use the "don't care" response, in the absence of any other alternative. Nonetheless, from qualitative work, we know that some Protestants have a fatalistic attitude to this trend, regarding it as irreversible, and seeing intervention as pointless. Similarly, a higher percentage (83%) of Gobnascale respondents had "neutral" responses to the issue.

The major difference between the two cohorts was in positive and in negative attitudes in the two communities. Eleven percent of Gobnascale respondents indicated that they were pleased that Protestants were moving out of the city, whereas no respondents in the Fountain were pleased. This raises the issue of the state of community relations and attitudes in the Gobnascale community, but also, as was noted earlier, in the Catholic community in the city as a whole. There appears, on the part of some Catholics, to be a lack of concern for their Protestant neighbours, and negative attitudes to them. References to past practices by the former Unionist council in the city, and what we came to refer to as the "hell slap it up them" attitude, seemed to allow this cohort of Catholics to justify marginalisation of Protestants in the city. On a positive note, 69% of Gobnascale respondents expressed concern and a positive attitude on this issue. However, the major amount of concern came from within the Fountain community itself, as a community that lives with the consequences of this trend, in terms of dwindling population and morale in the community.

 

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