Integration in a divided society? Refugees and asylum seekers in Northern Ireland
In refugee and asylum debates in the UK, Northern Ireland is at best referenced in passing and, more often, omitted entirely. While this has been historically rooted in the empirical reality that almost no refugees seek asylum in the region, changing realities mean that this omission is no longer justified. The sectarian divide in Northern Ireland poses a particularly dramatic challenge to the assumption within integration policy and theory that host communities are socially cohesive entities for which generalisations about values and practices can be broadly applied as standards for refugee and asylum seeker integration. This paper explores how an empirical understanding of the situation helps in rethinking assumptions of homogeneity widespread in integration theory.