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In Northern Ireland it is estimated that 35-40 per cent of Protestants and Catholics live in communities divided along ethno-sectarian lines, and some research suggests increasing segregation in recent years. A recent policy initiative to promote a 'Shared Future' acknowledges that the problems of residential segregation relate, at least in part, to endemic fear and sense of threat in divided communities. The research presented in this article reflects on this 'psychological' analysis of the problem through an exploration of the basis of negative emotional responses in two of Belfast's most segregated areas, and examines potential mediators of more positive responses towards the 'outgroup'. The article concludes with policy recommendations for mitigating fear and anxiety associated with residential segregation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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