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Cultural Perspectives on Globalisation and Ireland


Edited By Eamon Maher

In the space of a few short decades, Ireland has become one of the most globalised societies in the Western world. The full ramifications of this transformation for traditional Irish communities, religious practice, economic activity, as well as literature and the arts, are as yet unknown. What is known is that Ireland’s largely unthinking embrace of globalisation has at times had negative consequences. Unlike some other European countries, Ireland has eagerly and sometimes recklessly grasped the opportunities for material advancement afforded by the global project.
This collection of essays, largely the fruit of two workshops organised under the auspices of the Humanities Institute of Ireland at University College Dublin and the National Centre for Franco-Irish Studies in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, explores how globalisation has taken such a firm hold on Irish society and provides a cultural perspective on the phenomenon. The book is divided into two sections. The first examines various manifestations of globalisation in Irish society whereas the second focuses on literary representations of globalisation. The contributors, acknowledged experts in the areas of cultural theory, religion, sociology and literature, offer a panoply of viewpoints of Ireland’s interaction with globalisation.


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6. The Global is Personal Tom Inglis 113


6. The Global is Personal Tom Inglis I am standing in a supermarket aisle looking at an array of deodorants. I am perplexed. I have been told that I need to change my deodorant. I am not sure which one to choose. Would any deodorant suffice or is there one that would suit me best? I have been persuaded to think I am different. The reality, of course, is that I am like most other people in Western society: the way I see, read and understand myself and the world in which I live has been structured by discourses created and developed by institutions and organisations which have led me to this aisle, to the need to go out and buy some deodorant.1 The desire and need to buy a deodorant, like consumption itself, has been an unquestioned orthodoxy. Throughout my life, I have become consumed with the desire to consume. I am at the end of a chain of historical events that had their origins hundreds of years ago with the emergence of the modern world capitalist system. I think of myself as an individual. I have my identities and sense of self, but they have been created and developed not in conditions of my own choosing. We have to move beyond conceptualising globalisation as a merely economic, political or social process. It is also, and perhaps above all, a cultural process and yet, the number of writers on globalisation who have explicitly focused on the cultural are quite...

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