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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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8. ‘Root and Routes’: Home and Away in Friel and Heaney Alison O’Malley-Younger and Tom Herron 149


8. ‘Root and Routes’: Home and Away in Friel and Heaney Alison O’Malley-Younger and Tom Herron The life of the nomad is the intermezzo. — Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari The notion of nation is one that has perennially obsessed scholars of Irish Studies. Such a concept is as crucial as it is contentious, addressing disputes that are political, disciplinary, constitutional, sectarian, temporal, theo- retical, historiographical, oppositional, local and international. Central to the rhetoric of nation are the highly charged unifying tropes of ‘place’ and ‘home’ which sustain the hermetic interiority historically associated with the nation state. To be in and of a place is, according to philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, fundamental to a sense of authentic selfhood. Home is not merely a house, a domicile or an abode, but a powerful cultural signifier that is a point of orientation, an axis mundi that designates a sense of cultural belonging and existential shelter to the individual subject, and provides a sense of ontological surety to a cultural group. Further, as Brian Graham observes: ‘place is inseparable from concepts such as empower- ment, nationalism and cultural hegemony’.1 In short, there is a correla- tion between dwelling in a place and ontology which [revolves] around a profound sense of connectedness to the soil, the land, and home. This results in national identity being ‘grounded’ and rooted in the soil of the homeland, the heimat. 1 Brian Graham, In Search of Ireland: A Cultural Geography (London: Routledge, 1997), p. xi. 150 Alison...

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