An outstanding collection of essays, which explores the diversity of Irish culture in order to reflect on the the nature of Irish identity. The book ranges from studies of Joyce and Synge to analyses of popular culture and images of Ireland in film and television.
Fresh approach to cultural history in an Irish context. Uses film, television and other aspects of popular culture as examples. Rethinks concepts of tradition and modernity, race, gender and class as they bear on an understanding of contemporary Ireland.
An outstanding collection of essays which calls for a new, critical approach to cultural history in an Irish context. Ranging from studies of Joyce and Synge to analyses of popular culture and images of Ireland in film and television, the book shows how cultural representations do not simply reflect but help to constitute and transform social experience. As a consequence of this, national identity is not a fixed entity but must be understood in terms of specific cultural practices, the multiple narratives and symbolic forms through which we make sense of our lives. This requires a rethinking of key concepts of tradition and modernity, and race, gender and class as they bear on an understanding of contemporary Ireland. Though a largely white, Anglophone and Westernised country, Ireland historically was in the paradoxical position of being a colony within Europe. The fracturing of tradition by colonialism induced a form of 'modernity before its time' and an alternative public sphere, so that an experience of profound cultural loss was accompanied at the turn of the century by a dynamism which placed culture at the centre of social change. From a variety of perspectives, the essays in the book explore the complex intersections between culture and politics, nation and state, periphery and centre, and 'high' and 'popular' culture in Irish life. The aim throughout is to work towards non-exclusivist and open-ended forms of identity which allow a critical engagement with both past and present, and open up new possibilities for the future.