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Understanding the ‘Northern Irish’ identity: Stormont Knowledge Exchange Seminar briefing document

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthern Ireland Assembly Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2015

Abstract

How many people in Northern Ireland actually describe themselves as Northern Irish rather than Irish or British? Does this identity choice vary across the two main communities? What kind of people hold a Northern Irish identity - in terms of age, and socio-economic status? Is Northern Irish identity on the increase over time? In addition to addressing these questions we try to understand what the'Northern Irish' identity actually means. Is it a genuinely different, cross-community identity. Or is it just another way of expressing the dominant identities of British and Irish? We probe the meaning of Northern Irish by examining the political views and the political behaviour of Northern Irish identifiers, their social attitudes and the relationship between inter-group contact and identity choice. In our final section we tease out some possible policy implications of 'Northern Irish' identity. To begin with, however, we provide a brief overview of the academic literature on the Northern Irish identity.

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