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Affecting Irishness

Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation


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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Shades of Green and Orange: Irish Identity in Diaspora William H. Mulligan, Jr 231


Shades of Green and Orange: Irish Identity in Diaspora William H. Mulligan, Jr Irishness, like any identity, can be hard to define sharply. Because of the far-flung nature of the Irish Diaspora, defining what it is to be Irish can be especially challenging. There are people who identify themselves as Irish in a number of countries. Their direct relationship to Ireland varies greatly and their experience and that of their ancestors is equally diverse. Yet, they see themselves as Irish and are seen as Irish by others. In this essay, I intend to present some thoughts on why the nature of Irishness differs in the Diaspora and how that relates to both the maturity of the identity of the host culture as well as the specific sense of Irishness emigrants take with them as the move. Much of this essay is necessarily sketched broadly to suggest lines of research for the future, rather than reporting in close detail on research completed. In teaching a course on the Irish Diaspora as well as in my research on Irish copper miners in the Michigan Copper Country I have become aware of varieties, shades if you will, of meanings for the word Irish and its various compounds. Also, host cultures have responded in widely vary- ing ways to newcomers from Ireland. Different reactions by the same host culture at different times for historical reasons. The same identifying word, ‘Irish’, is used to identify people in many countries of the Irish Diaspora who have...

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