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Affecting Irishness

Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation

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Edited By James P. Byrne, Padraig Kirwan and Michael O'Sullivan

This collection of new essays addresses a key debate in Irish studies. While it is important that new research endeavours to accommodate the new and powerful manifestations of Irishness that are evident today in our globalised economy, these considerations are often overlooked. The writers in this book seek to reconcile the established critical perspectives of Irish studies with a forward-looking critical momentum that incorporates the realities of globalisation and economic migration.
The book initiates this vital discussion by bringing together a series of provocative and thoughtful essays, from both renowned and rising international scholars, on the vicissitudes of cultural identity in a post-modern, post-colonial and post-national Ireland. By including work by leading scholars in the fields of film studies, migration and Diaspora studies, travel literature and gender studies, this collection offers a thorough twenty-first-century interrogation of Irishness and provides a timely fusion of international perspectives on Irish cultural identity.

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Irishness and the Body: The Presence of the Body in the Debates on Poverty in the Early Nineteenth Century Anne-Catherine Lobo 57

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Irishness and the Body: The Presence of the Body in the Debates on Poverty in the Early Nineteenth Century Anne-Catherine Lobo That was what we were taught – the lower classes smell. And here, obviously, you are at an impassable barrier. For no feeling of like or dislike is quite so fundamental as a physical feeling. Race-hatred, religious hatred, differences of education, of temperament, of intel- lect, even differences of moral code, can be got over; but physical repulsion cannot […] Very early in life you acquired the idea that there was something subtly repulsive about a working-class body; you would not get nearer to it than you could help. You watched a great sweaty navvy walking down the road with his pick over his shoulder; you looked at his discoloured shirt and his cordu- roy trousers stiff with the dirt of a decade; you thought of those nests and layers of greasy rags below, and, under all, the unwashed body, brown all over (that was how I used to imagine it), with its strong, bacon-like reek. You watched a tramp taking off his boots in a ditch – ugh! It did not seriously occur to you that the tramp might not enjoy having black feet. And even ‘lower class’ people whom you knew to be quite clean – servants, for instance – were faintly unappetizing. The smell of their sweat, the very texture of their skins, were mysteriously different from yours — George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 160 This is how, in 1937,...

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