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Séamus Ó Cinnéide, Jean Cushen and Fearghas Ó Gabhan

The 2005 Human Development Report recently found Ireland to be the second wealthiest country in the world (UN Development Programme). However, the same report also highlighted that Ireland was one of the countries with the greatest social inequality and with the third highest level of poverty out of the eighteen countries surveyed. The Celtic Tiger period may also be characterised in terms of the widening gap between rich and poor (Nolan, et al. 2000; UNDP 2005). Even ‘social partnership’, Ireland’s corporatist national planning arrangements, including triennial national pay agreements, is criticized for concentrating political power in the hands of small elites and organised interests (Ó Cinnéide 1998; Kirby 2002).

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Kirk Simpson and Hastings Donnan

In this article we focus on Protestant and Catholic relationships in the borderlands of south Armagh in Northern Ireland and north Monaghan in the Irish Republic. Studies that emphasise Protestant and Catholic relationships at the urban or macro level have done little to unravel the complex processes of relationship-building that operate along the border, where Catholic and Protestant not only live in close proximity to one another and cooperate in a range of everyday activities, but where in the recent past each 'side' has used ethnic identity to select targets for assassination. The complexities of intercommunal dynamics in rural border areas and the ways in which they impact upon relationships between border Protestants and Catholics are discussed, with particular reference to moments that have significantly shaped their political subjectivity, most notably the sectarian violence that erupted in 1969 and which was formally brought to a close by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Such complexities, we suggest, muddy the over-dichotomised view of the Irish borderlands that often informs public policy making.

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Lorenzo Cañás Bottos

Based on fieldwork undertaken in 2004–2005, I analyze how the Irish border has been constructed, represented, challenged, and imagined by both the state and borderlanders as a means to discuss processes of constructing sovereignty. I focus on the concept of “assemblage” to integrate and highlight the tensions and contradictions between different levels of analysis: the juridical, the academic representation of the border, and the memories and practices of borderlanders. I argue that sovereignty, rather than a claim to be taken at face value by states, is the emergent property of the combination of a variety of forces, forms, and practices involved in the making of borders, and that its very enactment also produces anti-sovereign effects.

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Theorizing Democracy and Violence

The Case of Northern Ireland

Adrian Little

This article examines the concept of violence in contemporary political theory focusing in particular on the possibility of rethinking the relationship between violence and democracy. Rather than seeing democracy and violence as contrasting concepts, it argues that democratic societies have always been founded on the basis of violent engagement at some level. And, of course, the modern state has always claimed the legitimate use of force as a key ingredient in its authority. The article contends that many contemporary democratic discourses have lost sight of the integral relationship between democracy and violence. Indeed it is frequently the case that discourses of democracy are couched in ethical terms as the obverse of violence. Ironically, this trend is often most apparent where societies are either making a transition to democracy or where a process of conflict transformation is taking place. The limitations of these approaches for our understanding of violence and democracy will be outlined in this article through an examination of contemporary political developments in Northern Ireland.

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Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, Mark Kiss, Clíodhna Ní Bheaglaoich and Todd G. Morrison

Ó Beaglaoich and associates (2013, 2015a, 2015b) report that the Gender Role Conflict Scale for Adolescents (GRCS-A, Blazina et al. 2005) may not be suitable for use with Irish boys. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to develop a culturally appropriate measure of gender role conflict (GRC). The resultant 26-item scale was entitled the Gender Role Conflict Scale for Irish Adolescents (GRCS-IA). It had satisfactory scale score reliability and a unidimensional factor structure. Evidence of convergent validity was adduced through statistically significant correlations between participants’ gender role conflict and indices of psychological functioning (i.e., self-esteem and state as well as trait anxiety). The divergent validity of the GRCS-IA also was demonstrated (i.e., participants’ gender role conflict did not correlate significantly with their endorsement of masculine norms). Limitations of the current study are outlined and directions for future research are discussed.

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Cartographies of Communicability and the Anthropological Archive

Civil War Executions and the Harvard Irish Study

Brigittine French

This article traces ideological constructions of communication that enable powerful actors to determine what counts as silences, lies and surpluses in efficacious narratives about violence (Briggs 2007) in order to elucidate occlusions regarding legacies of the Civil War in the Irish Free State. It does so through a precise triangulation of multiple competing and overlapping narratives from unpublished fieldnotes, interviews, published ethnographies and other first-person accounts. The inquiry highlights social memories of the Irish Civil War that have been 'assumed, distorted, misunderstood, manipulated, underestimated, but most of all, ignored' (Dolan 2003: 2). The article argues that the excesses of the anthropological archive make the recuperation of a multiplicity of collective memories possible through a linguistic anthropological perspective that enumerates the kind of erasures at play in contentious memory-making moments, highlights polyvocality in metapragmatic discourse and tracks the gaps in entextualisation processes of historical narratives about political turmoil.

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Calling It Mammon

Instrumentalised Secularity and Religious Futures in Northern Ireland

Liam D. Murphy

Competitive funding by the European Union for community projects in Northern Ireland operates according to a political logic in which some groups and projects (deemed progressive, modern and generally secular) are prioritised, while others (discursively positioned as anachronistic, traditional and religious) are precluded. In this process, EU processes of statecraft seek to instrumentalise grassroots organisations as means to the many ends of a disenchanted, modern EU federation. In turn, overtly religious groups (among them churches, parachurches, and confraternities of various kinds) adapt to these conditions by instrumentalising EU processes and goals to the general end of securing a future place for religiosity in the 'new' Northern Ireland. This paper discusses the intersection of religious objectives and ideologies with that of European modernism in the context of two organisations: the Orange Order and the Divine Fellowship Congregation (DFC). Speci fically, I argue that both associations have developed distinctive forms of practice (the 'Orangefest' and 'Utopia' projects, respectively) that re-conceive what is possible for modern EU-funded initiatives. This adaptation has implications for both sets of institutions, in that each is transformed through articulation with the other.

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Green Fields and Blue Roads

The Melancholy of the Girl Walker in Irish Women’s Fiction

Maureen O'Connor

The natural world behaves in unexpected ways in twentieth-century Irish women’s fiction about girlhood. Girls are at once reduced to natural resources, ripe for exploitation, and instructed relentlessly in their social duties, which more often than not require they resist their ‘natural’ urges. The novels considered here – Holy Pictures by Clare Boylan, Down by the River by Edna O’Brien, and The Dancers Dancing by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne – feature girls moving towards the assumption of the roles of wife and mother they are expected to play as mature women. The girls walk roads of many colours through green landscapes that inspire contradictory responses of rebellion against and weary acceptance of their culture’s messages about a woman’s ‘natural’ place in post-Independence Ireland.

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[End] Users as Designers

The Internet in Everyday Life in Irish Households

Deirdre Hynes

This paper presents a study of Irish households, the internet and everyday life. Social studies of technology draw heavily from anthropology, not only in ethnographic methodologies but also in the ways in which such data can be understood and interpreted within the contexts of everyday life. To achieve this, the concept of the domestication of (media) technologies has been developed to describe and analyse the processes of technology's acceptance, rejection and use. Domestication is employed as a structural and analytical framework to achieve an empirical understanding of the domestic user. Based on a critical analysis from an anthropological perspective, the paper will revise the original domestication of the concept of technology. The notion of technological black boxes and I-methodology strategies are critiqued. This paper calls for users to be conceptualised as active agents in the overall design process and not as just end users who become active once the artefact has become commodified.

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Linda E. Mitchell

Through the analysis of three important texts—Gerald of Wales's Topographia Hibernica, the poem known as both The Song of Dermot and the Earl and The Deeds of the Normans in Ireland, and the 1367 Statutes of Kilkenny—this article seeks to demonstrate that characterizations of the Irish by the English during the first centuries of conquest and settlement established the Irish as differently gendered from the English. This is shown through the use of terms that define the Irish as sexually, socially, and culturally deviant, as unmanly and emasculated, and as legally and culturally inferior even to English women.