Paper short abstract:
This paper will compare ‘demographic aggression’ narratives in Northern Ireland and India. This is the belief that minorities are using higher population growth as a means to gain dominance and control, resulting in increased communal tension.
Paper long abstract:
Both Northern Ireland and India have a history of sectarian discord and partition, with many lasting legacies to this day. One of them is the persistence of extremely antagonistic perceptions of the 'Other', and their influence in society.
In Northern Ireland, Loyalist concerns about Catholic population growth were laced with Vatican conspiracies, Southern invasion plans and liberal degeneracy. Resurgent right-wing Hindus saw their minority Muslim population as an inevitable threat, based on 'rampant infiltration' from Bangladesh, outdated ideas of over-fertile Muslims, and association with the War on Terror. Despite different circumstances, both sites yielded a similar narrative: a majoritarian population had rested on its laurels and allowed degenerate minorities to utilise their fecundity and wrest more democratic control for themselves. Both sites require the protection of a virile conservative force to counteract the threat and return their country to its former glory.
Among questions I will explore are the connections between quantitative data (demographics) and qualitative (narratives, conspiracy theories), and how they must function together to be effective. I want to investigate how these two field-sites compare, both in the temporal progression of the perceived phenomenon and the means by which the threat is realised. Lastly I want to examine why these narratives are so much more prevalent in these sites, and the link between narrative and event in perpetuating communal violence.
In search of concealed truth: revealing, unraveling and debunking