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New Vocabularies, Old Ideas

Culture, Irishness and the Advertising Industry


Neil O'Boyle

Advertisements are often viewed as indices of cultural change, just as the advertising industry is often imagined as innovative and transformative. Advancing from an alternative position, which borrows much from practice-based research, this book instead highlights the routinisation of practices and representations in advertising. Drawing extensively from his own study, the author uses Irishness to investigate the relationship between cultural symbolism in advertising and the cultural vocabularies of advertising practitioners. While globalisation and immigration to Ireland have putatively unhinged taken-for-granted understandings of Irish identity, the author argues that representations of Ireland and Irishness in the global context continue to draw from a stock of particularisms and that advertising practitioners continue to operate with largely essentialist understandings of culture and identity. As the first of its kind in Ireland, this book makes a case for renewed attention to advertising by academic scholars and promotes the benefits of interdisciplinary research.


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Acknowledgements xiii


Acknowledgements There are many people who deserve my sincere thanks in helping to write this book (or for simply encouraging me to see it through to the end). While my analysis is sometimes unapologetically critical of the advertis- ing industry, in my experience those working in it are generally conscien- tious and socially considerate people and I am especially grateful to the anonymous practitioners who participated in the research. Although this book is essentially a reanalysis of my doctoral study, and draws on arti- cles and papers written since, the original research – undertaken while I was at Trinity College – is the empirical basis of what follows and as such I wish to express my thanks to Andrew Finlay and Ronit Lentin of the Department of Sociology, Trinity College, and to Sean Nixon of the University of Essex, for helping to make the original thesis as good as it could be. Likewise, I wish to express my thanks to the team at Peter Lang for their patience and support (as I extended the deadline again and again!) and also to the series editor Eamon Maher for his very helpful comments. I further wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues in the School of Communications at DCU, who have been extremely welcoming since my arrival from UCD. In addition to Paschal Preston, who was very generous in giving me as much leeway as possible to complete the book, Barbara O’Connor and Roddy Flynn deserve special mention for their helpful comments on...

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