Ruth McAreavey
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Minority and majority community integration in Northern Ireland
A matrix of tolerance
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Based on empirical research conducted in Northern Ireland, this chapter examines the way in which tolerance is displayed between minority and majority social groups. Following recent patterns of migration in Northern Ireland, achieving positive integration requires joint and multiple responses across different parts of society. It is too simplistic to consider legislation or very locally based responses or other measures alone. While these are fundamental to providing true recognition of minority groups, inter‐relationships and other contextual matters contribute to degrees of tolerance. This chapter challenges the notion that toleration is always the best strategy, showing how in particular circumstances non‐toleration can be more constructive than ‘mere’ toleration. By conceptualising integration through a matrix of tolerance, the analysis reveals a complex process that requires adjustment and change from all groups in society. It shows how the achievement of anything beyond ‘mere tolerance’ relies on proactive measures from government, civil society and individuals. The analysis concludes by identifying ways in which society may move forward and move beyond ‘mere tolerance’ to become truly integrated.

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