Life in Two Enclave Areas. Chapter 3: Segregated Living
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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
19. Segregation is widespread in Northern Ireland and takes a number
(* questionnaires in the Fountain said "Fountain"only and
in Gobnascale said
Responses from each area are shown in the table below.
Table 29 : Perception of area as segregated:
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.
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
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
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:
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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
Table 37 : Same community contact: neighbours
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
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 38 : Reaction to statistics on Protestants leaving
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
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
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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