This article assesses the identity politics of language in post-conflict Northern Ireland, where language debates at a political level have been encased in questions of identity. However, despite the continued existence of ethnocentric narratives around language, opportunities have emerged for individuals to cross linguistic barriers and challenge the perspective that certain languages ‘belong’ to certain communities.
Current Issues and Developments in Northern Ireland
Tensions between Ideologies of Authenticity and Anonymity
This article looks at the historicisation of the native speaker and ideologies of authenticity and anonymity in Europe's language revitalisation movements. It focuses specifically on the case of Irish in the Republic of Ireland and examines how the native speaker ideology and the opposing ideological constructs of authenticity and anonymity filter down to the belief systems and are discursively produced by social actors on the ground. For this I draw on data from ongoing fieldwork in the Republic of Ireland, drawing on interviews with a group of Irish language enthusiasts located outside the officially designated Irish-speaking Gaeltacht.
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).
Marie Cartier, Tad Shull and John Ireland
Marie Cartier La Dactylographie et l’expéditionnaire: Histoire des employés de bureau (1890-1930) by Dephine Gardey
Tad Shull Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde by Bernard Gendron
John Ireland La Naissance du phénomène Sartre: Raisons d’un success 1938-1945 by Ingrid Galster
Ethnographic Researcher to Policy Consultant
This article examines the concept of 'band development' taking place within the parading band culture in contemporary Northern Irish society. The parading tradition in Northern Ireland today is associated with two main characteristics; first, the public image of contemporary parading traditions is mainly negative due to its association with parading disputes that particularly developed in the 1990s. Second, that aggressively Protestant Blood and Thunder flute bands have become a dominant feature of these public performances. It is these ensembles that are defining people's notions of what parading bands represent. This article will discuss how ethnographic research with these bands allowed engagement on a policy level to take place, leading to 'band development'.
One of the most innovative proposals of the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 struck between the British and Irish governments was, I believe, the new ‘Council of Isles’. What this effectively acknowledges is that the citizens of Britain and Ireland are inextricably bound up with each other – mongrel islanders from East to West sharing an increasingly common civic and economic space. In addition to the obvious contemporary overlapping of our sports and popular cultures, it is worth recalling just how much of our respective histories were shared: from the Celtic, Viking and Norman settlements to our more recent entry to the European community. For millennia the Irish sea served as a waterway connecting our two islands, only rarely as a cordon sanitaire keeping us apart. And this is even truer in our own time with over 25 000 trips being made daily across the Irish sea, in both directions. It is not surprising that over eight million citizens of the United Kingdom today claim Irish origin, with over four million of these having an Irish parent. Indeed a recent survey shows only 6 per cent of British people consider Irish people living in Britain to be foreigners. And we don’t need reminding that almost a quarter of the inhabitants of the island of Ireland claim to be at least part British.
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.
Travelling West by Rita Kelly (Arlen House, 2000) ISBN 1903631025 £7.99
The Water Horse: Poems in Irish by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, with translations by Medbh McGuckian and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Gallery Books, 1999) ISBN 1852352329 £8.95
Ad Infinitum: Gedichte und Epigramme; Poems and Epigrams; Dántaagus Burdúin by Michael Augustin; translated by Hans- Christian Oeser,Gabriel Rosenstock a thiontaigh go Gaeilge (Dublin: Coiscéim, 2001) £5
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.
Medieval to Modern
Elizabeth C. Macknight
This special issue of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques derives from panel sessions for the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative (ISAI) conference held at the University of Aberdeen in October 2009. The conference marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of Aberdeen’s Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. It was also the first ISAI conference to feature panel sessions dedicated to the study of gender in Irish and Scottish history. The overarching theme of the conferenceGlobal Nations? Irish and Scottish Expansionencouraged discussion of the ways in which the history and heritage of Ireland and Scotland are interpreted and understood both within those countries and abroad. In the two panels on gender, history, and heritage we sought to interrogate past and present notions of Irish and Scottish identity through the lens of gender by bringing together speakers from universities and the heritage sector.