Home Institution

Duke University

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict


Community relations‟ policy is the only reconciliation policy in Northern Ireland. With this being said, this paper is an exploration of community relations‟ policy in Northern Ireland and its efficacy in terms of Contact Theory, identity, and education. I begin by describing my methodology, challenges of doing the fieldwork, and overview of sources used. Then, I define the issue the policies are meant to address: Northern Ireland‟s segregated society. Then, I present a description of the approaches, both political and organizational, to address segregation and improve community relations. Here, I look at the Northern Ireland Act (1998), Sharing over Separation, A Shared Future, Cohesion, Sharing, and Integration (CSI), Education for Mutual Understanding (EMU) and Cultural Heritage (CH), the Community Relations Council of Northern Ireland (CRC) and the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE). Following, I conduct an analysis of the themes that arose from the above two sections, which are: the separation of equality and community relations policies after the Northern Ireland Act, where I emphasize the importance of the equality of identities; education‟s role in community relations‟ policy and practice; and, lastly, the use of Contact Theory as the theoretical framework for community relations‟ policies.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change