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The Social Identity Model of Residential Diversification: Mixed-methods evidence from neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland and England
Stevenson, C. (Nottingham Trent University, UK), McNamara, N. (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Easterbrook, M. (University of Sussex, UK), Kellezi, B. (Nottingham Trent University, UK), Shuttleworth, I. (Queens University Belfast), Hyden, D. (Queens University Belfast)
Research on residential contact has shown how community identity processes helps residents cope with neighbourhood diversification but has neglected the very different identity-related experiences of incomers and long-term residents. The Social Identity Model of Residential Diversification attempts to capture this asymmetry and the present paper reports preliminary evidence from a programme of research into residential mixing in Northern Ireland and England. An initial qualitative interview study compared the divergent experiences of 13 Catholic incomers and 14 long-term Protestant residents within a newly mixed area of Belfast, finding that incomers report undergoing an ‘identity transition’ between neighbourhoods while long-term residents face an ‘identity transformation’ of their existing neighbourhood. A survey of residents in these areas support these findings: for incomers (n=324), community identity predicts positive attitudes towards long-term residents via the formation of new group memberships and increased social support. For long-term residents (n=114), community identification predicts positive attitudes towards incomers via perceived collective continuity of identity as well as social support. These results were replicated in a second survey in residential neighbourhoods in Nottingham (161 incomers, 101 long-term residents). Together these results attest to importance of appreciating potential asymmetries of identity experiences between different groups engaged in contact.
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