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Brewing Identities

Globalisation, Guinness and the Production of Irishness


Brenda Murphy

While Guinness is a global product, it still contains references to Ireland and it occupies a particular place in imaginings of Irishness. Brewing Identities is unique in that, while it focuses on the (re)production of a specific kind of ethno-national identity– Irishness – it is simultaneously transnational in scope, as the author maps the trails of products, people and symbolic constructs through a globalised world. In pubs from Dublin to London to New York, the reader is taken on a multi-sited ethnography, where stories unfold through observation, interview, and conversation with fellow patrons and pub personnel, while drawing from an ample sampling of discursive and interactional sources from which the author derives her own interpretations and conclusions. Additionally, the book follows the trail of the political economy of Guinness. Brewing Identities produces an engaging and well-grounded mode of inquiry informed not only by multiple sources but by the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies, one that is particularly sensitive and responsive to both the convergences and discontinuities of diverse conditioning factors at work in the generally nebulous and complex sphere of identity production.
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I would like to thank all those who so generously participated in my research. In particular, I wish to acknowledge the willingness with which certain crucial personnel from Guinness itself generously gave their time, insights and permission to quote them: Donogh Lane (Guinness, Dublin); John Hosking (Guinness, Park Royal, London); Connie Doolan (Guinness, New York); and Jim Doyle (Guinness, Johannesburg). I would also like to thank various people from advertising agencies holding the Guinness account at various times: Trevor Jacobs at Arks Advertising Agency in Dublin, Neil Quick at Ogilvy and Mather in London, Neil Cotton at Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano in New York, and Graham Cruickshanks at Saatchi & Saatchi, South Africa. All other interviewees featured throughout have been anonymised, but they can be assured that I am most grateful for their time, their willing participation and for sharing their stories.

Additionally I am thankful to Fr. Colm Campbell, Irish Immigration Centre, Queens, New York; to Eibhlin Roche, Guinness Archives Manager, for her support and patience whenever contacted about the product, advertising images etc.; to Diageo, for permission to reproduce Guinness advertising images; to Richard Johnson, for permission to reproduce the 1983 and 2004 versions of the Circuit of Culture; to Dorothy Cross, for permission to reproduce Pap; to Michael Skelton, for permission to reproduce Big Currach, Aran by the artist John Skelton; and to Fiona Dowling at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland, for graphic support for the book cover and for designing the personalised version of Johnson’s...

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