Community Relations and asserting identity

It is community relations week, so I want to run three posts on the subject.

Divided We Stand? Mapping patterns of shared and separated space is the title of a newly published piece of research by Orna Young and Stephen Roulston. It is of course worth a read in its own entirety, but I thought in particular this table was worth looking at, from a selection of over 400 young people of school-going age in Northern Ireland:


There is a lot to think on there, however what struck me most was the penultimate line. Asserting community identity can undermine social cohesion.

That is hugely challenging. One of the biggest causes of conflict and terrorism world-wide is a sense of lost identity. If people cannot assert their community identity without “undermining social cohesion”, we are in serious difficulties.

It is certainly not a question to which I have an answer. Has anyone?


One thought on “Community Relations and asserting identity

  1. the question has to be asked, why is there a visceral need for ‘community identity’. I don’t have one. I am British but my cultural identity is one i privately exercise through my love of he arts and music and literature and broadcasting. I don’t bang on about my need to have 6Music or Harold Pinter plays being performed on my street corner.

    The elephant in the room is why working class and agrarian communities feel the need to indulge in public pageantry and other form of public cultural sleeve-wearing.

    Are we letting a loud working class minority dictate terms of reference to the country at large and why?

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