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Views of Place, Views of Irishness

Representing the Gaeltacht in the Irish Press, 1895−1905

Davide Mazzi

This book focuses on the representation of the Gaeltacht in the Irish press. It examines texts from a key moment in the history of Irish journalism, namely the decade between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (1895−1905). Newspapers and periodicals have often been discussed with a view to their contents, or else they have served as supporting materials for scholars in Irish history. However, little to no interest has been taken so far in the language of the Irish press and the structure or discursive organisation of its news texts. In an attempt to contribute to filling this gap, this work is intended to carry out a corpus-based and discourse study of Irish news texts. The analysis fields the following general questions: How was the Gaeltacht represented in mainstream newspapers of the time? What aspects of Irish identity does the representation highlight, beyond the vivid description of remote places? In that regard, what are the concurring or competing voices of journalists engaging in the Irish public sphere? How do such voices actively shape news discourse in order to argue distinctive visions of Ireland?

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Edited by Julia Bamford, Franca Poppi and Davide Mazzi

Over the last few years there has been a burgeoning interest in both space and place as linguistic phenomena. Some of this interest stemmed from studies on the situatedness of language and speech in time and space and how deixis anchors speech to a context. Both our frame of reference with respect to surrounding space and how we conceive and describe it are closely linked to the language we speak. This is why different cultures perceive spatial relations differently, with speakers of one language, for instance, encoding spatial relations with respect to absolute directions while speakers of a different language use egocentric terms.
This book focuses on space, place and the discursive construction of identity in the present, globalized era, where technological developments are causing a change in the perception of spatial boundaries and geographical locations, and identities are experienced in hitherto unknown ways.