The general aim is to gain an understanding of the migration experience of Northern Irish Protestants. Accordingly the project targets areas where Protestants comprise a significant proportion of the Irish migrant group: England (Liverpool and London) and Canada (Toronto). The specific issues being explored include:
The life narrative methodology or biographical approach has been chosen for this investigation because, in telling their own stories, individuals actively construct their identities, their group identity and their conception of the world around them. These personal testimonies can have political force, according to the philosopher Lyotard, because of their potential to challenge 'powerful narrative apparatuses' and 'established regimes of thought.' Halfacree makes the case for employing a life narrative approach in migration research, asserting that 'thinking of migration as a story' is key to getting beyond the historically dominant economic discourse of migration to discover an alternative set of values, priorities and motivating factors. Lawson argues for the theoretical and political potential in 'migrant ambivalence' expressed in life narratives which can challenge ruling-group discourses of citizenship, equality, opportunity, and modernization. The power of the individual voice to poignantly articulate issues of identity and conflict specifically in the case of Northern Ireland has been demonstrated in the work of McKay, McKittrick, O’Connor and others.
Outputs: a monograph and specialist articles for journals such as Immigrants & Minorities.