Institutionalized Discrimination and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland

Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

James A. Nolan

Committee Member

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Donald Smith

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 H35 2001


The purpose of this research and subsequent thesis is to explore the issue of institutionalized discrimination, sectarian and political harassment, and victimization in the North of Ireland.

Understanding the situation in the North of Ireland will contribute to an understanding of how minority groups experience oppression and domination from the power elite groups. Extralegal, improper, or unwarranted force by police and security force members receives special attention. Conflict theorists such as Bailey (1996), Skolnick and Fyfe (1993), Quinney (1970) and Chambliss (1994) are reviewed regarding the misuse of force by police. A review of literature reveals that discrimination and sectarian harassment have been institutionalized in the North of Ireland. Specifically, government officials, particularly security forces, have perpetuated this discrimination and harassment-that is victimization.

The "Troubles" have taken many forms of violence against Catholics, Nationalists, and Republicans and Protestants, Unionists, and Loyalists. The violence typically reported by the media and studied by social scientists and clinicians tends to be among the more sensational and extreme forms of victimization according to Viano (1990). The hypotheses are supported by the data indicating that Republican, Nationalist, Catholic persons experience discrimination and harassment of a political and sectarian nature based upon self-reported data.


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