Essays on the Fiction of Colum McCann
Amanda Tucker Here and There: Reframing Diaspora in Songdogs
Global Ireland Colum McCann wrote his first novel Songdogs (1994) as Ireland was becom- ing more deeply entrenched in the transcultural f lows of contemporary globalization. During the 1980s and early 1990s, labour shortages caused a large number of Irish to emigrate to Britain and the United States. Less than a decade later, newfound economic success in Ireland initiated an unprecedented wave of inward migration; for the first time, the net inf low of people to Ireland was greater that the net outf low.1 Through her con- tinued inclusion of the Irish diaspora in conversations about national cul- ture and identity, former President Mary Robinson (1990–1997) of fered another manifestation of the global Irish: in her inaugural speech Robinson declared that she represented not only those within the Irish nation but also the seventy million people around the world who claimed Irish ancestry. By the end of the twentieth century, being Irish had been recognized as a global phenomenon. Discussions of the newly cosmopolitan Ireland, however, often simplify the ambiguities of Irish globalism. As Breda Gray, Mairtin Mac An Ghaill, and others working in Irish Diaspora Studies have argued, a disjuncture exists between the theory and practice of the global Irish. Although Mary Robinson sought to create a polyvalent Ireland, the growing acceptance of 1 According to the Central Statistics Of fice, 39,200 people immigrated to Ireland in 1996, while 31,200 people emigrated; cited in Mairtin Mac An Ghaill, ‘Beyond a Black-White Dualism: Racialisation and Racism in...
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