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Life in Two Enclave Areas
Chapter 4: Community issues and identities



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

Chapter 4. COMMUNITY ISSUES AND IDENTITIES

We were particularly interested in migration out of each of the areas, and in understanding some of the factors which influenced respondents to stay in the area, or to move out. Migration out of Protestant enclave areas is a key element in the viability of these areas in the long run, whereas Catholic enclaves tend to be more viable in terms of population stability, according to research conducted in Belfast. Earlier studies by Murtagh also found that a close-knit community was one features of enclave areas, so we designed a set of questions which examined various aspects of respondents' perceptions of the community they lived in, and then looked at how those perceptions related to their motivation to stay in the area, or to move out.

Both areas had experienced a number of changes in the three years immediately prior to the survey. In both areas, community organisations were beginning to be active in striving for improvements in the area. Community activity in Gobnascale was more intensive than activity in the Fountain, which also took a different form, and was more focussed on regeneration of an inner city area. This is a pattern, which has been noted elsewhere, where relatively higher levels of community activity in Catholic areas seem to be the general pattern. During the period of the research, a working group examined this issue in the city, and presented a report to Derry City Council on the subject. In the three years prior to the study, the cease-fires had been announced, and various urban aid initiatives and partnerships had been established. Some of these initiatives were related to the announcement of cease-fires, and some were not.

We began by asking about respondents' satisfaction with living in their area. Question 10 asked: "Overall, how satisfied are you with living in the area?" Responses from the two communities are shown in the table below, and in the following diagram.

Table 40 : Satisfaction with living in the area
Numbers and percentages from both communities

.
Gobnascale
Fountain
Gobnascale
as %
Fountain
as %
Very satisfied
70
25
27
21
Quite satisfied
119
50
45
41
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
47
28
18
23
Quite dissatisfied
8
9
3
7
Very dissatisfied
18
5
7
4
Don't know
2
3
1
2
No response
0
1
0
1

Total

264

121

101

99

GRAPH










Respondents in both areas were clustered at the "satisfied" end of the scale, and only 11% in Gobnascale and 14% in the Fountain fell within the dissatisfied or uncertain categories. There were proportionally more respondents in Gobnascale who were "very satisfied" and "quite satisfied", and more Fountain respondents in the middle ground category, "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied", although the differences between the two communities were not significant. From our results, it would appear that a majority of residents in both areas (72% in Gobnascale and 62% in The Fountain ) profess satisfaction about living in their respective areas.

We went on to ask respondents about changes which they had observed in their areas over the last three years, asking them to say whether they thought that the area had improved or deteriorated. Question 11 asked: "Overall, do you think that over the last three years, the area has - improved, - stayed the same,- deteriorated?" Responses to question 11 are shown in the table below and the following diagram.

Table 41 : Changes in area in the last 3 years
Numbers and percentages in each community
.
Gobnascale
Fountain
Gobnascale%
Fountain%
Improved
155
26
59
21
Stayed the same
73
42
28
35
Deteriorated
32
47
12
39
No response
4
6
2
5
Total
264
121
101
100

GRAPH













Significant differences (at the .0 level) emerge between respondents in the two areas on this question. Gobnascale respondents for the most part (59%) felt that the area had improved over the last three years, whereas only 21% of Fountain respondents felt that the Fountain had improved. Conversely, only 12% of Gobnascale respondents felt that their area had deteriorated, whereas 39% of Fountain residents felt that the Fountain had deteriorated. These responses reflect the real material fortunes of each area, with Gobnascale finally succeeding in having most of the derelict housing renovated, whilst the Fountain has not yet had the experience of substantial rehabilitation in the area.

We then asked respondents, in question 12, about their expectations over the following three years. Their responses are presented in the table below and in the following diagram.

Table 42 : Changes in area in the next 3 years
Numbers and percentages in each community

.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale% Fountain%
Improve13448 5140
Stay the same9344 3536
Deteriorate2615 1012
No response1114 412
Total264121 100100

GRAPH















From the responses to this question, it appears that a slim majority of respondents in Gobnascale (51%) are optimistic about the future of their area, while a substantial minority of Fountain residents (40%) are optimistic about the future of their area. Again overall differences between the two areas were significant (.02). Roughly the same percentage of respondents in each area (35% in Gobnascale and 36% in the Fountain) expected the area to stay the same, and similar percentages (10% in Gobnascale and 12% in the Fountain) expected deterioration in each of the areas. Again, this can be related to the material conditions in each of the areas. Whilst there has been talk of the rejuvenation of the Fountain, the results of recent initiatives have only just begun to materialise. Gobnascale, on the other hand, has seen the renovation of many derelict properties, and whilst there is still a lack of amenities in the area, there has also been recent visible evidence of change for the better.

We went on to explore community factors which might lead respondents to think of moving out of the area, or conversely, might mitigate against respondents moving out of the area, and hold them in the area. In the introduction to question 13, the questionnaire begins:

    Now, we would like to ask you about the things that have influenced
    your experience of living in the area and your desire to stay in or leave the area.

    13. Please tick if any of the following factors related to the community makes you want to stay or leave Gobnascale/Top of the Hill or The Fountain.*

    (* separate questionnaires were produced for each area, each stating the name of that area only)

Respondents were asked to select one answer only. Responses to question 13 are shown in the following table.


Table 43 : Community factors influencing migration
Percentages and rank order of responses for each community
Factors making me want to stay or
leave the area (part 1)
has made or makes me
want to stay

signi-
fican-
(Percentage in each community)Gobna-
%
scale
rank
Foun-
rank
tain
%
ce
level*
-the significance of the area to my side of the community 47155 1NS
-local community activity29 5126 .0005
-local churches and institutions46 2434 NS
-historic past of the area and political links to that
past/cultural heritage
27649 3.00003
-area used as a dumping ground for people with problems 4116 10NS
-high turnover of newcomers in the area 178126 NS
-differences between residents : faction fighting 798 8NS
-low morale, stigma, bad name of the area 61088 .05
-roots in the area 46 2542.009
-attractiveness of the area35 4135 .00005
-quality of the environment25 7610 .00001

*significance level relates to comparisons to the range of responses on each issue, even though "makes me want to stay" is the only one reported here. For the "makes me want to leave" responses, see the following table.

Responses to question 13 from both Gobnascale and Fountain respondents cluster around a set of four responses, three of which are held in common by respondents from both areas. "The significance of the area to my side of the community", "local churches and institutions", "area used as a dumping ground...", "high turnover of newcomers...", and "...faction fighting" were all issues on which there was agreement between the two areas. (see also responses to "makes me want to leave" in following table.) "The significance of the area to my side of the community" was the most frequently selected response in both communities, followed by "roots in the area" which ranked second in both areas, although there were significant differences between the two areas in the numbers selecting this item. With Gobnascale respondents, "local churches and institutions" ranked joint second, and this factor ranked fourth with Fountain respondents, whose third factor making them want to stay was the "historic past of the area and political links to that past /cultural heritage," - which was ranked sixth by Gobnascale respondents.

Due to the historic significance of the Fountain, the responses to "the significance of the area..." and "historic past of the area..." were to be expected in response to this question. That Gobnascale respondents selected "the significance of the area..." as the most frequently selected response was somewhat surprising. The enclave nature of both these communities is a possible explanation for selecting this response, with respondents in both areas having consciousness of representing their community in circumstances of potential or actual threat. Differences in response on issues of "the attractiveness of the area", the "quality of the environment"between Gobnascale and the Fountain indicate that Gobnascale respondents rate their environment more positively than Fountain respondents. Differences on "roots in the area" possibly reflect the relative longevity of the Fountain community, whereas Gobnascale is a relatively new (20+ years) housing development. Conversely, Fountain respondents rated "stigma" significantly higher than Gobnascale respondents as a reason to stay. This could possibly be due to respondents' reacting with determination and tenacity to observed decline in the area, or the overall position of the Fountain as a Protestant community in a largely Catholic city.

Table 44 : Community factors influencing migration
Percentages and rank order of responses for each community
Factors making me want to stay or
leave the area (part 2)
has made or makes me
want to leave
signi-
fican-

(percentage in each community)
Gobnascale
% ........ rank
Fountain
% ........ rank
ce
level*
-the significance of the area to my side of the 3104 8NS
-local community activity15 7127 .0005
-local churches and institutions3 1029 NS
-historic past of the area and political links to that
past/cultural heritage

8

8

2

9

.00003
-area used as a dumping ground for people with problems 37245 1NS
-high turnover of newcomers in the area 195213 NS
-differences between residents : faction fighting 27319 4NS
-low morale, stigma, bad name of the area 411282 .05
-roots in the area79 0 - .009
-attractiveness of the area16 6186 .00005
-quality of the environment21 419 4 .00001

*significance level relates to comparisons to the range of responses on each issue, even though "makes me want to leave" is the only one reported here. For "makes me want to stay" responses, see previous table.

There are some parallels between the two areas in terms of the important factors which make respondents in both areas want to leave the area. High ranking factors on which there is no significant difference between the two areas are: that "the area is used as a dumping ground for people with problems," and perhaps related to that, "the high turnover of newcomers to the area," and "differences between residents: faction fighting" were three prominent reasons cited in both areas for wanting to move out. "Low morale, stigma, bad name of the area" also ranked highly in both areas, but was a significantly greater problem for Gobnascale respondents. Similarly, the "quality of the environment" ranked fourth in both areas as a reason to leave, but was a significantly greater problem for Gobnascale respondents than Fountain respondents.

We were interested in how other factors related to the quality of life in the community, but not necessarily related to the troubles had influenced respondents' motivation to stay in the area. In question 15, we asked:

    We would like to know if any of the following factors related to vandalism
    and amenities
    in Gobnascale/Top of the Hill have influenced your decision
    to stay in the area or leave the area.
Responses to question 15 are shown in the table below.

Table 45 : Vandalism and amenities influencing migration
Percentages in each community responding in each category
.has made me
want or
makes me
want to stay
has made me
want or
makes me
want to leave

No
response


sig-
nif-
.
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
ican
ce of
diff.
-vandalism in area
9
6
43
24
48
70
.0002
- too scared to challenge vandals or hoods
10
8
28
14
62
78
.005
-no facilities for children / young people
10
6
44
32
47
62
.02
-difficulties in rearing boys in area;
fear they will get caught up in trouble
8
7
38
17
54
75
.0001
-difficulties rearing girls in the area:
fear they will get caught up in trouble
8
7
29
15
63
78
.009

This question had a poor response rate, unlike the response rate to the question 13, which was high. A non-response may also indicate that respondents may not have considered the factor relevant to their decision to stay or leave, or it may have been a fault in the question or survey design.

For Gobnascale and Fountain respondents, there were significant differences between them on all of these questions. On all issues, the Gobnascale respondents scored higher on "makes me want to leave" option. "The lack of facilities for children and young people" was the most frequently selected factor which would make people in both areas want to leave the area. A close second for Gobnascale respondents was "vandalism", which was also the second most frequently selected response for Fountain respondents. Similarly, "difficulties in rearing boys in the area" ranked third for both cohorts, and fourth in both areas was "difficulty in rearing girls". This question emerged as a concern for residents, particularly in Gobnascale during the early qualitative work, and the response here would tend to confirm the existence of anxiety about rearing children, especially boys, in an area where they might get into trouble. These were concerns, but on a lesser scale for Fountain residents, possibly due to the lesser numbers of young people in that community, or to a different security situation in the area. Fear of "challenging vandals or hoods" ranked fifth in both areas, although twice the proportion of Gobnascale respondents selected this item (28%) than Fountain respondents(14%).

We were also interested in factors related to housing and transport facilities in each of the areas which may have influenced people's decision to stay or leave the area. In question 16 we asked respondents:

    Please tick if the following factors related to housing and transport
    have influenced your decision to stay or leave the area.
Their responses are shown in the table below.

Table 46 : Housing and transport influencing migration
Percentages in each community responding in each category
. has made me
or makes me me
want to stay
has made me
or makes me
want to leave

No response

levels
of
.Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
Gobna
-scale
%
Fount
-ain
%
diff-
eren
-ce
-help from politicians in finding housing
outside the area
4913 37388.003
-the standard of housing in the area27 122732 4755.008
-redevelopment in the area30 271412 5763NS
-investment made in my home36 1977 5774.002
-car-parking in the area18 81926 6466.02
-traffic in area165 212863 67.006
-handiness of amenities:
city centre shops, schools, churches

58

78

7

0

35

22

.0001
-low cost of transport34 31 4 063 67NS
-low cost of housing29 247564 71NS

Again, the response rate to this question is relatively low, although, again, non-response may also indicate that the factor was not relevant to the respondents' deliberations about moving or staying in the area.

Among reasons to stay in the area, "handiness of amenities" ranked first in the responses in both communities, although there was a significant difference between the absolute results on this issue between the two areas, with the Fountain scoring rating handiness as a much more prominent issue for their area. This is hardly surprising since the Fountain's proximity to the city centre makes its location very convenient for shopping and access to the city centre. It is somewhat surprising that respondents in Gobnascale selected this item, because of Gobnascale's more remote location. Although there are schools and a church in the Gobnascale area, it does lack shopping, entertainment and medical facilities. Again, similarity in the ranking of responses in the two areas has meant that "low cost of transport", "low cost of housing", (on which there were no significant differences between the two areas) "investment made in my home" (difference =.002) and "redevelopment in the area" (no significant difference) rank as the five most important factors in both areas.

In relation to factors making respondents wish to leave the area, respondents ranked the first four factors in identical order. "The standard of housing in the area" was the most important factor in both areas in making respondents wish to leave. Dissatisfaction about the standard of housing in both areas is clearly the most important factor among the factors listed in influencing decisions to stay in or leave both areas.

"Traffic in the area" ranked second in both areas as a reason for wanting to leave, although a significant difference exist between the two areas. Traffic has been a problem in the Fountain area for some time, due to its city centre location. That traffic is mentioned as a difficulty at all by Gobnascale residents is somewhat surprising, given its relatively peripheral location in terms of city traffic. However, we know from qualitative work that residents in Gobnascale have been complaining about heavy goods traffic which travels through the area to a tannery located on the edge of the area, and this may be an explanation for this response.

Similarly, car parking, which ranked third in the responses in both areas, although the difference between the two areas was significant. The problem with car parking (and with traffic) has been a consistent problem for Fountain residents, again due to their city centre location, which explains the 26% response rate from Fountain respondents on the issue of car parking. The 19% response from Gobnascale respondents is more difficult to explain, since there is no known problem about car parking, except that in some areas of the estate, residents cannot park their cars within sight of their house, and must park at some distance from their homes, making it difficult to "keep an eye" on their cars.

The response which ranked fourth in both areas as a reason for people wanting to move. was "redevelopment" and there was no significant differences between the two areas. With Fountain residents, redevelopment in the past has produced the universally unpopular maisonettes in the area, and the response to this question could be a reference to this prospect. Many residents of the Fountain moved out during the redevelopment of the area at that stage and never moved back again. In addition, Fountain residents are faced with the prospect of further rehabilitation work in the area, as a result of recent initiatives. This response could also be related to the anticipated disruption that this will mean in the area. In Gobnascale, much of the refurbishment of vacant houses in the area is complete. However, this response in Gobnascale may be an expression of dissatisfaction with the way in which redevelopment was carried out.

In summary, there is a great deal of similarity between the priority attached to factors related to community life, the quality of that life and aspects of community identity in both areas. Variations occur on certain issues, possibly due to the materially different circumstances of the two areas, their different position in the city as a whole, and their distinct cultural and political heritages. However, overall, with the exception to issues related to the security forces, and some to do with the specific nature of the physical environment, there are issues of striking similarity between the two areas.

Identity

We were also interested in the issue of the relationship between majorities and minorities, and the nature of respondents' identifications in relation to minority and majority issues. Bearing in mind that all our respondents live in enclave areas, and are in some senses in the minority, yet both cohorts could also be described as in the majority in other senses: Catholics as a majority in the city or on the island, and Protestants as a majority in Northern Ireland. Having a sense of being in the majority can carry with it a sense of validation or triumphalism. Conversely, being in the minority can mean a sense of marginalisation or disempowerment. In Question 17, we asked both cohorts, "Do you feel a part of a minority?" Responses to question 17 are shown in the table below and in the following diagram.

Table 47 : Do you feel part of a minority?
Numbers and percentages in each community
.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale%Fountain%
Yes9570 3658
No15343 5836
No response168 66
Total264121 100100

GRAPH











Responses to question 17 show Gobnascale respondents and Fountain respondents in direct inverse relationship to one another, and the differences between them are significant at the .0001 level. 36% of Gobnascale respondents and 58% of Fountain respondents identified themselves as part of a minority, and 58% of Gobnascale respondents and 36% of Fountain did not identify themselves as part of a minority. This could indicate that the identifications within either the context of the city, (or possibly the island), are more powerful shapers of this aspect of identity in these communities than the context of Northern Ireland. We went on to explore this matter further in question 18, in which respondents who had made a YES response to question 17 were asked to select which minorities they felt a part of. Responses to question 18 are shown in the table below and in the following diagram.


Table 48 : Minorities felt part of
Numbers and percentages in each community
.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale%Fountain%
Catholics in Waterside73 0280
Protestants in cityside1 38031
Protestants in whole city1 18015
Catholics in N.Ireland13 252
Protestants on island
of Ireland

0

1

0

1
Other48 27
No response33 12
Not applicable16951 6442

GRAPH














When we examine the responses to question 18, it clearly emerges that the most prevalent identification is within the context of the city, with 28% of Gobnascale respondents who feel part of a minority Catholic population in the Waterside, and 31% of Fountain respondents feeling part of the minority Protestant population in the cityside, and a further 15% feeling part of the minority Protestant population in the city as a whole. Differences between the responses from the two areas over the range of responses to this question were significant at the .0 level. Five percent of Gobnascale respondents identified as part of a Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, but by far the majority of respondents' identifications were within the context of the city, rather than wider identifications. When we examine the sub-population in both areas who identified themselves as part of a minority, and separate them from the section in both areas who did not so identify themselves, the following table emerges:

Table 49 : Felt minority positions: sub-populations
Numbers and percentages of those identifying as minorities in each community
.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale%Fountain%
Catholics in Waterside73 0770
Protestants in cityside1 38054
Protestants in whole city1 18126
Catholics in N.Ireland13 2143
Protestants on island
of Ireland

0

1

0

1.4
Other48 411.4
No response33 34.2
Total9570 100100

It would be interesting in future analysis to compare these identifications with those of a Protestant and Catholic population who do not live in enclaves, to attempt to isolate the effect that living in an enclave may have on the sense of being in a minority. Clearly, the sense of being in a minority is proportionally greater among Fountain respondents, although a substantial minority (28%) of Gobnascale respondents identified themselves as part of a Catholic minority in the Waterside. Overall, however, identifications beyond the city, within the wider Northern Ireland context or within the island of Ireland context, were much less frequent for respondents in both areas.

Later in the questionnaire, we asked another question about identity, asking respondents in question 23 to tick any of the items on a list of possible identity positions which described them. The responses to question 23 are shown in the table below and in the following three tables.

Table 50 : Personal identity
Numbers and percentages in each community
.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale%Fountain% significance
of difference
British1986 771.0
Irish 19310 738.0
Nationalist590 220.0
Republican210 80.001
Unionist136 030.0
Loyalist023 019.0
Protestant157 047.0
Catholic 1493 562.0
Northern Irish3716 1413NS
Ulsterman/woman930 325.0
Derryman/woman13614 5212.0
European 255 94.06
Other36 15-
None of these11 01NS
No response53 22-
Total sample size264 121---

Marked differences between the two areas emerge in their choice of identity positions which describe them. The degree of polarisation is apparent in the majority off items which score quite highly in one community and have little or no score in the other community, such as Nationalist 59 (22%) or among Gobnascale respondents and not at all, 0 (0%) among Fountain respondents, or conversely British, which scored highly in the Fountain, 86 (71%), and at a significantly lower level in Gobnascale 19 (7%). The only two items in which there is not a significant difference between the two areas is on the identification as "Northern Irish" and on the "none" response.

The cleavages apparent in the responses to this question are to be found in the society as a whole, and are not limited to residents in enclave areas. Moxon Brown writes:

In his pioneering study in 1968, Rose found that there were three national labels of importance in Northern Ireland: "British", "Irish" and "Ulster". Ten years later, these had virtually collapsed 61 into "British" and "Irish". Protestants had become more inclined to see themselves as British, and less as identified with Ulster, while Catholics overwhelmingly saw themselves as Irish. The violence of the intervening period had undoubtedly made Protestants less inclined to see themselves as Irish, and more likely to cling to a British identity. (Moxon Brown, 1991)







3 GRAPHS










































When we examine the responses from each of the cohorts, we find that the rank order of identity positions in descending order of frequency from Gobnascale and Fountain are as follows:

    Gobnascale Fountain
    1Irish British
    2Catholic Protestant
    3Derryman/woman Unionist
    4Nationalist Ulsterman/woman
    5Northern Irish Loyalist
    6European Northern Irish
    7Republican Derryman/woman
    8British Irish
    9Ulsterman/woman Other
    10Other European
This polarisation is clearly manifest in response to another question, question 24, which asks respondents, "Generally, do you consider yourself a Unionist, a Nationalist or neither." Responses to question 24 are shown in the table below and in the following diagram.

Table 51 : Unionist/Nationalist identities
Numbers and percentages in each community
.GobnascaleFountain Gobnascale%Fountain%
Unionist
2
72
1
60
Nationalist
127
3
48
2
Neither
121
40
46
33
No response
14
6
5
5

GRAPH



The table and diagram illustrate the almost complete polarisation of respondents from the two areas on issues of Unionist and Nationalist identities. In spite of the proportion within each community (46% in Gobnascale and 33% in The Fountain) who chose the "neither" option, and have therefore located themselves outside of the polarised political dynamic, the difference between the two ares on this issue is significant at the .0 level. Again, the evidence points to an almost complete polarisation in terms of political identity between the two areas. However, if Moxon- Brown, Rose, Murtagh and others are to be heeded, this is manifests within the society as a whole. the enclaves we study are, perhaps, therefore mirroring the society as a whole rather than, as stereotype would have it, containing the society's most "extreme" elements. In a society where there are few, if any, positions which are not located on one or other side of the sectarian divide, polarisation is to be found throughout the society. One does not have to go to an enclave to find it.


 

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