Public Processions and Social Context: Challenges in the Search for Community Impact



Hamilton-Smith N, Malloch M & Ashe S (2015) Public Processions and Social Context: Challenges in the Search for Community Impact. Scottish Affairs, 24 (3), pp. 308-327.

Research into the community impact of public processions was commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2013 at the instigation of the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism. This study formed part of a wider project to gather evidence on the nature, extent and impact of sectarianism in, and on, Scottish life. The process of conducting research on the impact of public processions demonstrated the range of conceptual and methodological challenges facing researchers in gathering and analysing evidence in this complex area. These challenges are of broad relevance because many of them confront researchers, policy makers and practitioners alike. More specifically, this article examines some of the challenges that arose in the attempt to identify ‘community' and subsequently to assess ‘impact' through an exploration of the contested meanings and significance attributed to certain types of public processions.

public processions; community impact; methodological challenges; sectarianism; crowds and protests

Scottish Affairs: Volume 24, Issue 3

FundersScottish Government
Publication date31/08/2015
Publication date online08/2015
PublisherEdinburgh University Press

People (2)


Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith

Dr Niall Hamilton-Smith

Associate Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Projects (1)

Community Impact of Marches and Parades