‘Finding’ the Female Irish Catholic Diaspora: a qualitative investigation of the experiences of women in Glasgow

Goldie, Paul (2019) ‘Finding’ the Female Irish Catholic Diaspora: a qualitative investigation of the experiences of women in Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There has been much scholarly interest in the Irish Catholic Question in Scotland in recent years. The research which has been conducted has been undertaken largely by quantitative sociologists who seek to ascertain whether structural disadvantages still impact on the life-chances of Catholics in Scotland, with the category Catholic being deployed as a synonym for the Irish in Scotland. However, to date there has been little in the way of qualitative studies examining the actual experiences of people from an Irish Catholic heritage.
This study not only addresses this methodological imbalance, but offers a fresh approach to understanding this topic. Fieldwork began in 2015 and entailed 22 life history interviews with women of Irish Catholic heritage in Glasgow. Interviews were conducted using photo-elicitation techniques as this method is considered an effective way of gaining insight into participants’ ‘life-worlds’. The main aim of the thesis was to look at how the attribution of an Irish Catholic identity - by them or by others - had shaped their lives. This involved exploring issues surrounding identity both in a cultural and a group ‘sense’. Further, the thesis sought to explore how diasporic identities were produced, sustained, and experienced within Glasgow.
The thesis found that there was a significant number and density of cultural networks within Glasgow which enabled 2nd and 3rd generation migrants to engage in activities which brought forth a strong identification with the island of Ireland. Secondly, it found that many who took part in the study were subject to pressures as to who to partner with, or marry. These pressures included experiences of bigotry, and family coercion to enter into relationships with coreligionists. Thirdly, underscoring all of this was the issue of prejudice. Many of the women who took part in the research talked of experiencing an aggressive secularism, a racialized nationalism and, most frequently, an anti-Catholic prejudice. Overall it became clear that an attribution of an Irish Catholic identity - whether through self-ascription or ascription by others – was a significant factor in shaping the everyday lives of participants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Irish Catholic diaspora, identity, gender, family, relationships, racism.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Virdee, Professor S. and Smith, Professor A.
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr P Goldie
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-81505
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 16:04
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 14:56
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81505
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81505

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