Christopher Holligan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


This entry gives an account of sectarianism, pursued through a discussion of distinctive national and international arenas. The focus is around the nature and sources of the dynamics associated with sectarian discrimination impacting societal groupings. Sectarianism is associated with the social forces shaping the expression of religious and cultural life and their linkage to economic and political life. It is connected to the phenomenon of ingroup and outgroup behaviours and attitudes. Racial and ethnic relations are salient dimensions of these social distinctions and diverse communities. Sectarianism is often enunciated in material forms through the physical layout of urban spaces and the dominant sporting activities, and the cultural meanings attributed to them. In this entry sectarianism is theorised as undoubtedly giving rise to societal division but, on the other hand, offering opportunity for sense of belonging. Sectarianism is a mentality, a system of stratification and allegiance which results in the categorising of persons holding different and sometimes dangerously conflicting outlooks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Dictionary of Race and Racism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 May 2024


  • conflict
  • division
  • education
  • intolerance
  • religion
  • sectarianism
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Lebanon
  • India


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