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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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10. ‘Coming of Age’ (and other Fictions of Globalisation) in Three Novels by Seamus Deane, Roddy Doyle and Patrick McCabe Willy Maley 191


10. ‘Coming of Age’ (and other Fictions of Globalisation) in Three Novels by Seamus Deane, Roddy Doyle and Patrick McCabe Willy Maley In an essay entitled ‘Globalization and Culture: Placing Ireland’ (2002), Honor Fagan, echoing Declan Kiberd’s famous phrase, says ‘if an Ireland did not already exist, globalization theory would have to invent it’.1 This is not the place to argue that the Celtic Tiger, if it ever existed, is now extinct, but it is the place to ask whether, given that an Ireland did and does exist, and that it has a long colonial history, globalisation’s inventions, however ingenious, can do it justice. Fagan sees Ireland as an artful dodger among nations that puts into question neat binaries, and deconstructs the oppo- sition between nationalism and globalisation. Fagan’s argument is that Ireland, though often appropriated by those who would ‘buy in totally to the ideology of globalization: if we take advantage of it, we can escape parochial nationalism’, offers a more complex case that interrogates rather than endorses such cosy and complicit theories: Many social groups in Ireland, many women especially, have always contested the smug conservative self-serving myths of Irish nationalism. Postnationalist accounts that imply that we have moved into a sea of tranquility where all conflict will be peacefully resolved in Brussels or Washington are also problematic.2 Fictions of globalisation have played an important part in criticism of Irish literature in the past two decades. By fictions of globalisation I mean both 1 G. Honor Fagan, ‘Globalization...

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