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Keywords:

  • Ethnic conflict;
  • immigration;
  • Ireland;
  • conflict management;
  • pure sociology

Abstract

Despite growing awareness of the limitations of group-level analyses in ethnic studies, research on ethnic conflict has paid virtually no systematic attention to variation at the individual or micro level. Addressing that gap, the present paper draws upon data from interviews conducted with members of two broadly-defined categories recently arrived in the Republic of Ireland, Muslims and Nigerians. Results indicate that while members of both immigrant categories experience a good deal of ethnic conflict or hostility, such conflict is rarely collective and invariably varies across individuals. The research data are consistent with Donald Black's theory of moralism. Black's theory, based on his theoretical system known as pure sociology, predicts that ethnic hostility increases with the social inferiority and cultural distance of the immigrant, and that higher status immigrants are more assertive in responding to hostility, though they experience less of it (the status paradox).