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Northern Ireland Sectarianism and Civility; The Global Pigeon

Laurie Taylor considers our complex relationship with the quintessential city bird. Also, sectarianism versus civility amongst Belfast mothers.

The Global Pigeon - our complex and contradictory relationship with the quintessential city bird.
Laurie Taylor talks to Colin Jerolmack, an American sociologist, who spent over 3 years studying pigeon/human interaction across 3 continents. Pigeons were domesticated thousands of years ago as messengers, as well as a source of food. These days they're either treated as a nuisance or scarcely noticed on our city streets and roofs. This new study uncovers the many and versatile lives of these anonymous looking birds; the ways in which people have kept them for sport, for pleasure and profit: From the 'pigeon wars' waged by breeding enthusiasts in the skies over Brooklyn to the Million Dollar Pigeon Race held every year in South Africa. The author argues that our interactions with pigeons offer surprising insights into city life, community, culture, and politics.

Also, sectarianism and civility in Northern Ireland - Dr Lisa Smyth explores how mothers from different religious communities 'get along' in the shared spaces of inner city Belfast.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Mon 8 Jul 2013 00:15


Lisa Smyth

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Queen’s University, Belfast



Find out more about Dr Lisa Smyth



Abtract: Maternal situations: sectarianism and civility in a divided city
Lisa Smyth, Martina McKnight
DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12019
Sociological Review
Volume 61, Issue 2, pages 304–322, May 2013

Colin Jerolmack

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at New York University



Find out more about Colin Jerolmack



The Gobal Pigeon
Publisher: University of Chicago Press 
ISBN-10: 022600208X
ISBN-13: 978-0226002088

Ethnography Award

Thinking Allowed in association with the British Sociological Association announces a new annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture.


Are you involved in social science research and completing or will have completed an ethnography this year? The Award is open to any UK resident currently employed as a teacher or researcher or studying as a postgraduate in a UK institution of higher education.


An entry should be a completed ethnography, a qualitative research project which provides a detailed description of the practices of a group or culture. Any sole authored book or peer reviewed research article published during the calendar year of the award will be eligible.


The judges for the Award are Professor Dick Hobbs, Professor Henrietta Moore, Dr Louise Westmarland, Professor Bev Skeggs. The Chair is Professor Laurie Taylor. (Please do not contact any judges directly).



Find out more on how to participate


  • Wed 3 Jul 2013 16:00
  • Mon 8 Jul 2013 00:15

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