A Difficult Difference
Contributions by: Henry McDonald
In today's world, multiculturalism is no longer a theory, it is a reality that calls into question the rules that govern societies. But what happens when a society divided along sectarian lines starts to become multicultural? Does diversity inflame old tensions or can it offer a blueprint for a bright new future? Northern Ireland has changed. For most, the war is over. Peace has brought prosperity and a measure of political stability. It has also brought record numbers of migrants. But not all newcomers have been met with respect and tolerance. Malicious racist attacks have garnered international headlines, while the North's commitment to the full diversity of its citizens has often been called into question. This is the story of how multicultural agendas have emerged in Northern Ireland, and how sectarianism continues to frustrate new visions for a post-conflict society. Drawing on everything from analysis of anti-racist murals and posters to interviews with politicians, policy makers, and minority ethnic representatives, this book shows how, and where, Northern Ireland is moving forward, and where patterns of behavior and social organization rooted in tribal division are holding it back. While politicians across the globe are grappling with issues of race and religion, understanding Northern Ireland in all its complexity has never been more important. This highly readable account paints a vivid picture of where Northern Irish society is now, and what needs to change if a socially cohesive future for all its peoples is ever to be realized.
Publication Date: 5/28/2010