Political parties and minority ethnic communities in Northern Ireland: election manifestos 1994-2007
MCGARRY, AIDAN, Hainsworth, P. and Gilligan, C. (2008) Political parties and minority ethnic communities in Northern Ireland: election manifestos 1994-2007 Translocations: Migration and Social Change, 3 (1). pp. 106-132. ISSN 2009-0420
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This article examines how political parties in Northern Ireland have attempted to address and engage with minority ethnic communities through election manifestos. It assesses each of the main political parties in Northern Ireland in turn by focusing on the language employed in election manifestos from 1994-2007. Specifically, it highlights instances when language such as equality, immigration, racism and culture is discussed in relation to minority ethnic communities. The article acknowledges that there may exist a difference between ‘saying and doing’ and also that the increase in attention directed at minority ethnic communities could be interpreted as political parties chasing votes. However, it is equally true that, by raising issues such as racism, political parties are contributing to much-needed integration efforts in Northern Ireland society. By stating their commitments to minority ethnic communities, political parties are making de facto promises, meaning that the language carries with it tacit understandings to realise certain goals.
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