Exploring religion as a bright and blurry boundary
Irish migrants negotiating religious identity in Britain
in Women and Irish diaspora identities
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This chapter uses the sociological concept of boundaries to explore the processes through which migrants may be included in or excluded from national, ethnic and religious collectivities. It argues that religion can be both a 'bright' and a 'blurry' boundary. The chapter suggests that a boundaries perspective helps us to capture the complexity of multifaceted identities. Drawing on the work of Zolberg and Long and Alba, the chapter examines the role of religion in defining boundaries of identity and belonging and explores how religious identities intersect with ethnicity and gender. The chapter draws on oral histories interviews undertaken with Irish women migrants in Britain. The chapter also suggests that while Catholicism represents a form of continuity with the homeland, it can also be experienced as a site of difference within the context of migration.

Women and Irish diaspora identities

Theories, concepts and new perspectives


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