Research Projects

The four strands of C-STAR's research, both singly and in combinations, have resulted in a varied portfolio of related projects, funded and non-funded, current and past. Over £600,000 has been awarded to C-STAR members in research grants and consultancy earnings, over £250,000 of it coming from the Economic and Social Research Council, and further grants funded by the EU.

Current projects are listed and briefly described; and past projects since 2000 are listed.

Current funded projects:

ESRC 2: 'Linking Northern Ireland Census of Population Data 1971-2001' (Shuttleworth, Lloyd, Anderson), RA: Ciaran Higgins.

This project aims to create a consistent time series and enable quantitative analysis of social, economic and demographic changes between 1971 and 2001, by:

  1. Extracting, collating and making available selected socio-economic and demographic variables (including counts dealing with population structure, religion, housing tenure, car ownership, and economic activity) from the Census Office grid-square product for 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 using a consistent grid-square geography that covers all NI.
  2. Linking 1971, 1981, 1991, and 2001 grid-square data to 2001 Census output geographies to permit change 1971-2001 to be linked into the NI Neighbourhood Statistics initiative using commonly-used spatial units.
  3. Disseminating and encouraging the wider use of the datasets by (a) developing a database/GIS system to allow the flexible use of the grid-square dataset created under Aim 1; (b) making available for inclusion in the Neighbourhood Statistics programme the dataset created under Aim 2; and (c) documenting the datasets through the provision of notes and metadata to guide users.

Seminars, presenting findings from this project have been given in Leicester and Belfast over the past year. A seminar is planned for the 8th March 2006 at Queen's University Belfast. For more information click [here].

ESRC 3: 'Cities in Conflict' (Anderson, with Dr Wendy Pullan, University of Cambridge, as Principal investigator, and Dr. M. Dumper, University of Exeter).

This project - part of the ESRC Security Research Programme - is based in Cambridge; involves Israeli and Palestinian researchers doing empirical work together in Jerusalem as part of the support team of research assistants; and a comparative dimension involving other 'divided cities' including Belfast, Nicosea and Berlin.
HEA EU-funded North South Research Programmes - 'Mapping Frontiers, Plotting Pathways: Routes to North-South Cooperation in a Divided Island'. Institute for British-Irish Studies, University College Dublin, with Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR) and the Institute of Governance, QUB. (Anderson a grantholder with a teaching buy-out; and Shuttleworth a member of the research team). The project involves a large team from both universities and is covering various aspects of the Irish border from its creation in the 1885-1925 period, through its consolidation from 1920 to around 1970, and its subsequent partial transformations as a border within the EU. Specific work includes a focus on imperialism and nationalism as contrasting but interacting and overlapping modes of border creation and change (Anderson and O'Dowd); and historical and contemporary empirical research in the 'mid-border' region of South Fermanagh and adjacent Monaghan-Cavan.

Incapacity Benefit (IB) Claimants: Geography, Households, Decision Making and Welfare Reform

The project funded by the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) aims to analyse the household and personal profiles of IB claimants, their decision making and labour market perceptions. It also examines IB take-up in urban and rural areas and areas with varying levels of labour demand. The objective of this is to improve understanding of how flows into (and out of) IB are shaped by differing personal and household factors in varying geographical and labour market contexts. The research involves a mix of quantitative and qualitative research and it is being undertaken in cooperation with Anne Green of the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick.

Current non-funded and doctoral projects include:

Spatial Fixes for Capitalist Crisis: the political economy of cross-border labour migration.

The export of capital to 'under-developed' or non-capitalist peripheries and colonies has for long been seem as one possible 'external' solution or 'spatial fix' for crisis in the core regions of the world economy, from Hegel through to liberal and Marxist theorists of imperialism at the end of the 19th century as David Harvey has outlined. But could it be that this 'old' fix - which we can call Fix 1 - has perhaps been displaced, partly replaced or supplemented, by a new, largely hidden or unrecognised Fix 2 where cheap labour is imported to the core economies from the peripheries? In a global system comprising the world economy and a multiplicity of national territorial states, the relatively free transnational movement of capital, goods and information across borders is often contrasted to the lack of such freedom for people in general and labour in particular. Yet there has recently been very large scale and in some respects unprecedented labour migration across state borders, though with borders used to control and further cheapen labour in various ways. Instead of capital being exported from the core to low-wage peripheral areas in an attempt to counter crisis tendencies, has there been an historic switch to importing labour from the periphery to the core, and especially to low-paid, low-skill jobs,? Or given that Fix 1 with its emphasis on 'external' colonies was integral to the old imperialism, might it now be making a come-back with the new 'imperial turn', both fixes perhaps operating in tandem rather than being mutually exclusive? These ideas have been explored in general terms and in the context of EU enlargement and the changing 'core-periphery' relationships between western and Eastern Europe (Anderson and Shuttleworth). For his doctoral research, Stuart Lavery is developing some of these ideas, focusing particularly on interactions of various sorts between indigenous labour and local labour markets on the one hand and transnational labour and immigrant workers on the other.

Recent Projects Competed

ESRC 1: 'Political demography: the Northern Ireland Census, discourse and territoriality' (Anderson, Shuttleworth, Lloyd), Research Assistant: Owen McEldowney (on leave from post-graduate research in the Institute of Governance).

The project investigates relationships between population distributions by religion (assumed marker of ethno-national identity), their (mis)interpretations in public discourse, and their electoral and wider political implications. It combines quantitative analysis of Census data on demographic and socio-economic variables with qualitative analysis of related discourses in the media and interviews with political parties. Focusing on Northern Ireland, its sub-regions and localities, it elucidates how the politics of demography and territoriality at different scales help perpetuate national and ethnic conflicts. Conversely, it explores how more informed analysis of religious segregation and population ratios could contribute to conflict resolution in Northern Ireland and other divided societies. It demonstrates the limitations of Census data, and the need to take proper account of socio-economic causation and the complex and mediated nature of the links between population and politics. There are also overlaps between the Census-oriented research and David McNair's more detailed empirical investigation of segregation/mixing in Belfast across a range of different social milieu.

Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship: 'The Enlargement and Integration of the European Union: A comparative study of border transformations and cross-border relations in Hungary and Ireland', £77,310.

Dr Judit Molnar, University of Miscolc, Hungary, is working with C-STAR as a full-time researcher in the School of Geography for 16 months from January 2004; and Judit has already completed work on the Ukrainian-Hungarian, Slovakian-Hungarian and Austrian-Hungarian border regions. In closely related work, Ivo Nienhuis, who is doing postgraduate research in Human Geography at the University of Nijmegen, is investigating the impact of the border on the border town of Clones as part of his thesis. The research in the cross-border region centred on the Clones area of Fermanagh-Monaghan-Cavan also includes rural and urban questionnaire surveys of activities, travel patterns and political attitudes in relation to the border.

Past C-STAR Projects since 2000 have included:

ESRC Violence Research Programme - 'Mapping the Spaces of Fear' (Shuttleworth, Anderson, Kitchin): the impact of violence and fear on everyday life in Belfast.

A variety of consultancy projects for Northern Ireland's Department of Employment and Learning (DEL), including: a study of Area Perceptions, Mobility and Exclusion in Belfast (with A. Green, Univ. of Warwick); The Harland & Wolff Redundancy Study; and The Large-Scale Recruitment Study, with cross-border labour recruitment for the Rank Xerox plant in Dundalk.


C-STAR 2005


Centre for Spatial Territorial Analysis & Research

School of Geography
Queens University