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Family and Dysfunction in Contemporary Irish Narrative and Film

Edited By Marisol Morales-Ladrón

Institutionalized through religious, moral and political discourses, the family has become an icon of Irish culture. Historically, the influence of the Church and the State fostered the ideal of a nuclear family based on principles of Catholic morality, patriarchal authority, heterosexuality and hierarchy, which acted as the cornerstone of Irish society. However, in recent decades the introduction of liberal policies, the progressive recognition of women’s rights, the secularization of society and the effects of immigration and globalization have all contributed to challenging the validity of this ideal, revealing the dysfunction that may lie at the heart of the rigidly constructed family cell. This volume surveys the representation of the concepts of home and family in contemporary Irish narrative and film, approaching the issue from a broad range of perspectives. The earlier chapters look at specific aspects of familial dysfunction, while the final section includes interviews with the writer Emer Martin and filmmakers Jim Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan.
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Asier Altuna-García De Salazar – Family and Dysfunction in Ireland Represented in Fiction Through the Multicultural and Intercultural Prisms

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← 136 | 137 →ASIER ALTUNA-GARCÍA DE SALAZAR

ABSTRACT: Multiculturalism and even transculturalism offer new fictional insights into the discourses of family and dysfunction in Ireland. By adopting an inclusive frame that analyses both native and immigrant authors, this chapter aims at approaching ‘new’ modes of dysfunctional families. These modes may differ from what has been normally regarded as dysfunctional, as they incorporate new perspectives and experiences that have sprung from the social, political, cultural and economic forces that have appeared in Ireland over the last three decades. The fictional instances dealt with in this chapter are already pointing at a crucial change in Ireland that has to do not only with the forces of globalization and the arrival of the new guests of the nation; but, also, with an intrinsic questioning of what Irishness and identity entail. The approach to the dysfunctional family through the multicultural and transcultural prims shows that although this form of dysfunction is still underrepresented in Irish fiction, there are already salient instances that reflect not only upon the family cells and their individual members, but, also upon Irish society at large.

The fictional representation of the dysfunctional family in Irish writing between 1980 and 2010 finds a special niche of research and interest when approached through the multicultural and transcultural prisms. To all the other variant factors that are encapsulated within family dysfunction and which have already been dealt with in this volume, such as displacement, abuse, discrimination, domestic violence, drinking...

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