Culture, Irishness and the Advertising Industry
Chapter 3 Advertising, Irishness and the Nation Brand 53
Chapter 3 Advertising, Irishness and the Nation Brand The more anxious, confused, uncertain, and bewildered modern society gets, the stronger will be the role played by advertising1 Introduction This chapter considers advertising’s importance as a socio-symbolic force and specifically, the role that advertising plays in the construction of Irish identity. Throughout the chapter I investigate some of the ways in which Irishness has been represented in advertising texts, both within and with- out Ireland. However, I begin by examining the main academic critiques of advertising, which generally locate its development in the context of wider processes of modernisation, the globalisation of media and the emergence of mass consumer culture. Advertising has also played a central role in the ascendancy of “brands”, which are considered increasingly important in an era in which self-identity is understood as a ref lexive project (Giddens 1991). Following this, I move to examine the role of media in establishing national identities and the relatively recent idea of “nation brands” (which in fact is not all that dif ferent from much older processes of nation build- ing). In this part of the chapter I ref lect on how Brand Ireland has evolved from tranquil backwater to economic powerhouse (then failure) and, in more recent times, to a hazy assemblage of cultural contradictions (Fanning 2006). The chapter concludes by considering the “everything and noth- ing” status of Irishness as an identity currency in the global marketplace (see Negra 2006). 54 Chapter 3 A brief history of advertising critique...
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