Is shared space really shared?

Shelley McKeown, Ed Cairns, Maurice Stringer

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


There have been many attempts to solve Northern Ireland’s problems over the
last thirty years. The primary focus has been to increase the amount of
intergroup contact between the two dominant groups (Protestant and Catholic)
through developing shared space. Outlining a body of developing research, the
present paper argues that shared space does not necessarily mean that groups
interact in a meaningful way with one another. This is evidenced through data
which examined intergroup behaviour in integrated secondary schools, further
education college classes and a cross-community group in Northern Ireland.
Results show that even in what is deemed as shared space, Protestant and
Catholic young people remain highly segregated in homogenous groups at the
individual level. The findings presented in this paper argue that shared space
is not really shared in the true sense and suggests how this could be achieved
as a way to improve intergroup relations in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
JournalShared space
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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