Globalisation, Guinness and the Production of Irishness
Chapter 1. Why Guinness?
You can drive past a dusty billboard advertising it as you travel through Lagos, sit in an authentic ‘Irish bar’ in an airport in Moscow and have a pint of it, or holiday on a Mediterranean Island and spot a bottle of it in a shop window. Guinness is a globalised product and it is likely that you will encounter either the product itself or an advert for it in most countries.
However, although Guinness is a global product, it still contains references to Ireland and Irishness, and it occupies a particular place in imaginings of Ireland and Irishness. As a result, Guinness is uniquely associated with Irishness in the imagination of Irish people and others worldwide, and it has negotiated the retention of its specific brand identity of Irishness. It anchors Irishness and is recognisable as an intrinsically Irish product despite its actual globalisation.
Ireland’s contested colonial history and its unique position as Britain’s first and last1 ‘colony’ provides a rare space for interrogation in several dimensions, and so this book tells a story about Irish identity, the Irish diaspora, and a marketed and advertised product called Guinness, all three of which coalesce in this complex postcolonial space.2 The entity that results ← 1 | 2 → in this coming together is unique. It is quintessentially national yet global at the same time. It is a direct result of its complex colonial relationship that the Irish diasporic project contains so many moments of movement, dislocation and migration.
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