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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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Chapter 8. Guinness Doesn’t Travel but the Irish Do: Being and Doing ‘Irish’ Abroad


Migration is a one way trip. There is no ‘home’ to go back to.

(Hall 1987: 4)

When you have a good local… it’s like being in a little village… it’s like being in Ireland… you know everybody and you go out and you have a crack and it helps you wind down… and if the Guinness is good…

(Joe, Focus Group, The Parkway, North London 1998)

The Irish are the oldest and currently constitute the largest single ethnic minority community in Britain.

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