Class and Religion in Belfast

  • Ian Budge
  • Cornelius O’Leary


THE perceived and actual influence of religion on party support provokes more extensive investigation of its effects, and of its relationship with other social characteristics in Belfast. However, it is also interesting to investigate class phenomena for the very reason that class does not exert as strong an influence as elsewhere in Britain. The most plausible explanation lies in the possibility that class distinctions and feelings assume a different guise in Northern Ireland. We are able to compare Belfast responses about class and religious affiliations with information obtained in Glasgow at exactly the same time and in the same way. The comparison shows whether the impact of religion and class differs from that encountered in at least one other city. Since in a modern industrialised community the absence of strong class effects is a more anomalous phenomenon than the presence of religious influence, we begin by considering occupational differences. We then link these to subjective class feeling, and consider the relationship of both factors to religious identifications.


Religious Loyalty Occupational Class Unionist Councillor Private Rental Party Support 
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  1. 1.
    For description of this cleavage in some Northern English communities see J. Bulpitt, Party Politics in English Local Government (London, 1966) passim; for Glasgow, Scottish Political Behaviour, especially Chapters 6 and 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ian Budge and Cornelius O’Leary 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Budge
    • 1
  • Cornelius O’Leary
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GovernmentUniversity of EssexUK
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceThe Queen’s University of BelfastUK

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