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Language from Below

Ó Croidheáin, Caoimhghin

Language from Below

The Irish Language, Ideology and Power in 20th-Century Ireland

Year of Publication: 2006

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2006. 345 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-171-9 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.490 kg, 1.080 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book critically investigates the relationship between the Irish language and politics through a survey of individuals and movements associated with the language. This approach takes into account competing socialist and nationalist perspectives on language and society to demonstrate the different motivations for and class interest in Irish. The increasing power of the global market has the negative effect of reducing the well-being and autonomy of national populations. The study examines the decline of the Irish language as part of a global neo-liberal system that homogenises markets by reducing national and linguistic boundaries. It is argued that the struggle for rights is transformational and that the struggle for language rights by individuals and communities is an essential part of this transformation.


Contents: Ideology – The Nation, Ethnicity and Language – Language Policy 1893-1945 – Language Policy 1946-2000 – Progressive Politics.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin went to the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and obtained a B.A. in Fine Art in 1985. He subsequently attended Dublin City University and obtained a Masters Degree in Communications and Intercultural Studies in 1993 and his Ph.D. in 2000. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies in Dublin City University, Ireland from 2002 to 2005. He is currently working as an artist and critic in Dublin.


«This book is a welcome critique of how Irish has been demoted to the status of a "language from below". Ó Croidheáin's book could see a debate begin, free from the ideological and political restraints that have plagued the language's progress in the past.» (Eamon Maher, Village Magazine)