Methodological nationalism and the Northern Ireland blind-spot in ethnic and racial studies

Chris Gilligan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Downloads (Pure)


Northern Ireland (NI) has been one of the central issues in Brexit. Yet, it barely featured in the discussions in the run up to the EU Referendum in 2016. This blind-spot regarding NI, has been a long-standing feature of social science research on the UK. This article examines the NI blind-spot, with a particular focus on its operation in ethnic and racial studies. The article examines the NI blind-spot as a methodological issue, through an application of, and then critical reflection on, the concept of ‘methodological nationalism’. The article also examines the NI blind-spot in relation to two key areas of applied ethnic and racial studies: immigration, and; ‘race relations’. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of our analysis for ethnic and racial studies in, and of, the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-451
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Northern Ireland
  • methodological nationalism
  • United Kingdom
  • Brexit
  • immigration
  • race relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Methodological nationalism and the Northern Ireland blind-spot in ethnic and racial studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this