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Three Conference Papers on 'Aspects of Sectarian Division'

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

three conference papers

on aspects of segregation and sectarian division

researching sectarianism
borders within borders
the capacity for citizenship

Templegrove Action
Research Limited

First published 1996
by Templegrove Action Research Limited
13 Pump Street, Derry Londonderry, BT48 6JG

© Templegrove Action Research Limited
Typeset by Pauline Collins and Marie Smyth
Photographs by Ruth Moore and Allen Kennedy
Researching Sectarianism prepared in collaboration with Ruth Moore
Written and edited by Marie Smyth

Printed by Print 'n Press, Foyle Road, Derry Londonderry

All Rights Reserved

ISBN 1 9000 7104 5



Researching Sectarianism

Marie Smyth and Ruth Moore

presented at

The Annual Conference of the Sociological Association of Ireland:
Clonmel, May 13, 1995

Borders within borders:
material and ideological aspects of segregation
Marie Smyth

presented at

The Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control: Crossmaglen, September, 1995


Limitations on the Capacity for Citizenship
in Post Cease-fires Northern Ireland
Marie Smyth

presented at

The Inaugural Meeting of the European Observatory on Citizenship: University College, Cork, November, 1995

and project director


Derry Londonderry


Thanks to Pauline Collins, for ongoing input to discussions and debates in the project office; William Temple for ongoing discussion in his shop; Robin Percival, Diana King, Tony Doherty, Eamonn Deane, Hilary Sidwell, William Temple for their input as the Board of Directors; Donnie Sweeney for support in the fieldwork; Ken Rooney of the Fountain Area Partnership for ongoing liaison; Sydney Harrod, Barry Desmond, for continued interest and encouragement; Madeleine Callaghan, Allen Kennedy and Ruth Moore for photographs; Maude Kelly, Mary Scally, for advice and support; Brendan Murtagh, Barney Devine, Donnie Sweeney, Maureen Hetherington, Drew Hamilton, for their input as the Advisory Group, and especially to Denis McCoy, whose support and encouragement has been invaluable; George Row for computer assistance; Arlene Avakian, Robin Wilson, Jim Campbell, Elizabeth Meehan, Walter Lorenz, Pauline Collins, Ruth Moore and James Jordan for conversations which clarified the theory; Robbie McVeigh, for breaking some of the ground. Thanks also to Gillian Michael, David Holloway, Anne Doherty, Alistair Wilson, Brian Lacey, the staff of the Londonderry Sentinel, the Derry Journal, RTE, Radio France International, Care Today, Common Ground, the Belfast Telegraph and BBC Radio Foyle.

We are grateful to the Physical Social and Environmental Programme of the European Union, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Ireland Fund, The Londonderry Initiative of the Department of the Environment, and the Central Community Relations Unit for core funding for the project. We are also grateful to the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust, the Community Relations Council and Derry City Council for funding the public debates and publications series.

We would like to thank the participants in public meetings from all parts of the city and beyond,- people whose names we do not have - who came along and assisted in opening up topics for discussion by their participation. Finally, we wish to thank the people involved in Top of the Hill 2010, The Fountain Partnership, Wapping Lane Community Association and all those residents from The Fountain and Gobnascale/ Top of the Hill who consented to be interviewed and who read transcripts of their interviews. They have taught us some of what they know, and we have been privileged by being welcomed into their homes and community centres.

Marie Smyth
Project Director

May 1996



'Researching Sectarianism'
Marie Smyth and Ruth Moore

'Borders within borders: material and ideological aspects of segregation'
Marie Smyth

'Limitations on the Capacity for Citizenship in Post Cease-fires Northern Ireland'
Marie Smyth

List of other publications produced by the project


From 1993, a group of people began meeting to discuss various aspects of political life in Derry or Londonderry city. We worked together to develop a project which addressed the issues related to segregation, the movement of population within and out of the city, and the quality of life in enclave areas. In September, 1994, Templegrove Action Research Limited, a community based research company with directors drawn from both sides of the community, began a two year action-research project on aspects of segregation and sectarian division in the city. Funding had been obtained, and I had received a two year leave of absence from the University of Ulster to work full-time on the project. Just as the project began, the IRA, and shortly afterwards the Combined Loyalist Military Command, announced cease-fires. By early 1995, the two other members of the team, Ruth Moore, and Pauline Collins, had been recruited. In our research on segregation and enclave communities in the city we have come to refer to as Derry Londonderry. Our work has been based in two enclave communities: a Catholic community in the previously predominantly Protestant Waterside area of the city, - Gobnascale or Top of the Hill; and a Protestant enclave, The Fountain, in the predominantly Catholic Cityside area.

Our research field had been substantially altered by the cease-fires. We had planned the Templegrove research project when the violence of the troubles had been ongoing. That the violence should end just as we were beginning work was a challenge to our ability to respond to a changing political climate. Sectarian division and violence did not merely provide the backdrop to our research, they were central concerns, and at the very beginning of our work, this major change had occurred - apparently the violence had ended. This cessation of violence seemed laden with significance, not only for our work, but for our daily lives, and for the country as a whole.

In recognition of the possibility of more open political dialogue in this new atmosphere, Templegrove embarked on organising a series of public discussion on aspect of sectarian division - the subject that was most difficult to address when violence was ongoing. A series of topics was identified and, in all, six public discussion were organised. The aim was to make good quality research and writing available to the general public, and to create a public space where people from both communities could participate in discussions about sectarian division. The proceedings of these public discussions are published in a separate publication, Public discussion on aspects of sectarian division in Derry Londonderry. We also engaged in a series of in-depth interviews with residents in the two areas and material related to these is published in a separate publication, Hemmed in and Hacking It : Words and Images from The Fountain and Gobnascale. As a result of work on the minority aspect of enclave life, we organised a public hearing on aspects of minority life in the city, and the proceedings are published as, A Public Hearing: Minority Experiences in Derry Londonderry. During the period of the project, we also made submissions on aspects of public policy related to sectarian division, notably Sectarian Division and Area Planning: a commentary on "The Derry Area Plan 2001: Preliminary Proposals." We also wrote two other policy papers on aspects of sectarian division, and these are available in one published report: Two Policy Papers: Policing and Sectarian Division, and Urban Regeneration and Sectarian Division. In 1995, we conducted field surveys in both areas, and the findings of these are also available as a separate published report, Life in Two Enclave Areas: A Field Survey in Derry Londonderry after the cease-fires.

The papers presented here were produced over the period of the fieldwork reflect the changing conceptualizations of the issues on which the project was focussed. They are works-in-progress, since at the time of writing the project is not yet concluded. They were conference presentations, which provided a valuable opportunity to discuss the work presented here with colleagues elsewhere. This publication is another way of achieving this.

Marie Smyth, May, 1996


Researching Sectarianism


This paper reviews existing research on sectarianism in Northern Ireland in relation to its claims to objectivity and the management of the researcher's subjectivity. The paper outlines strategies for researching sectarian division which have been devised for use on an ongoing research project on sectarian segregation, intimidation and enclave areas. These strategies include the use of co-researchers from the "other" community, attention to the emotions involved in fieldwork (Kleinnman and Copp, 1993), action research (Sanford 1993) and participative research (Elden 1993). The methodological advantages and dilemmas associated with each strategy are outlined and explored. The use of fieldwork journals, and issues of openness, danger, responsibility and accountability are also addressed.

Borders within borders: material and ideological segregation as forms of
resistance and strategies of control.


This paper outlines the work to date on a two year ethnographic study of two enclave communities in Derry - or Londonderry, as the Protestant minority call it. The paper discusses the changing pattern of spatial segregation in the city as a whole over a twenty year period. Emergent themes from the first phase of the fieldwork in the two communities are presented. Prominent features and effects of segregation in each of the communities, and aspects of community life in the two enclaves are discussed in relation to the issues of resistance and control, and to the dynamic of subordination and domination between the two communities.

Limitations on the Capacity for Citizenship
in Post Cease-fires Northern Ireland

This paper outlines the concept of citizenship and examines how the rights and responsibilities of the ideal of citizenship broadly compare with the lived experience of residents of Northern Ireland. The commentary is grounded in ongoing fieldwork in two segregated enclave communities in Derry/ Londonderry, and in the experience of the writer of living in, and outside of, Northern Ireland. The paper argues that four main factors have contributed to the limitation on the capacity of residents of Northern Ireland for citizenship: (i) governmental arrangements (ii)violence (iii) segregation and (iv) the nature of the political process. Governmental arrangements discussed include the proroguing of Stormont and direct rule from Westminster, and the role of the European Parliament and judiciary which has culminated in the so-called "democratic deficit" in Northern Ireland. The projected long-term effects of political violence on factors such as confidence in government, confidence in other political agents and on the political ethos and culture are delineated. The extent and effects of segregation, which has been used extensively as a strategy for coping with violence and fear, is outline and explored. Last, the nature of current political processes and discourses are described in terms of the dynamic of domination and subordination. The paper concludes by pointing to the need for political imagination, understanding of "real" political power, the restructuring of political discourse, and the need to hold the tension between will and instinct, in order to create a new political dynamic in which citizenship for all residents becomes a possibility.

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