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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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The Ulster-Scots and the ‘Greening’ of Ireland: A Precarious Belonging? Linda M. Hagan 71

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The Ulster-Scots and the ‘Greening’ of Ireland: A Precarious Belonging? Linda m. Hagan Eh’ve wurkt oot a poetic map o thi world. Vass tracts o land ur Penntit reid tae shaw Englan kens naethin aboot um. Ireland’s Bin shuftit tae London, whaur oafficis o thi Poetry Sock occupeh fehv Squerr mile. Seamus Heaney occupehs three O thon …… — From ‘Mappa Mundi’ by W. N. Herbert The dominance of a British-cum-super-English literary culture and its attendant linguistic thraldom has affected all parts of the Atlantic archi- pelago. However the conceptualisation of identity within all parts of these islands is under scrutiny. ‘Englishness’, ‘Britishness’ and ‘Irishness’ are under- going interrogation and transformation. The elision of English into British is being questioned (Norquay & Smyth 2002). Similarly the question of what it means to be ‘Irish’ must be posed. In addition it is necessary to con- sider, in terms of the north of this island at least, if sharing a future together depends on reimagining our past. Does the reimagining or ‘rebranding’ of ‘Irishness’ which appears to have taken place tend towards a more peaceful, shared future or actually create further potential difficulties? This reimagining is merely a macro redefinition in parallel to the read- justments at a micro level which go on in our individual understandings of personal identity. Our identifications and associations are complex and are affected by many factors such as relationships and our life experiences. ‘Our awareness of ourselves is at best problematic. In fact it is a thoroughly complicated affair:...

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