Ethnic Divisions? Types of Boundaries and the Temporality of Change in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

  • Jennifer Todd
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter shows the changing ways in which religious and national distinctions were embedded in social structure and institutions in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over the last century; how far this was echoed in public practices and attitudes; and how, when and by which groups this was challenged and changed. Using aggregate data for the last 50 years it shows the different temporalities of change in each jurisdiction: threshold-like change in the Irish state, and cyclical fluctuation between polarization and permeability in Northern Ireland. It traces the changing proportions within each divided group who want change in group boundaries (‘changers’), who resist it (‘die-hards’) and who are undecided (‘swayers’). Thus it sketches the social baseline from which identity change occurred in the 2000s.


Partition State building Social boundaries Catholics Protestants Class Social attitudes Polarization Groupness Intra-group dynamics Temporality of change Thresholds of change 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Todd
    • 1
  1. 1.Geary InstituteUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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