Migration and Belonging in Irish Literature and Film
‘The Golden Calf’: Irish Crime and the Deconstruction of Irish Society
ABSTRACT This chapter considers the legal and epistemological foundations of the emergent Irish society and how they can shed light on the contemporary interpretations of the 2008 financial crisis from within the discursive position of the state. The pragmatics of maintaining the relationship between the state and the financial sector mean that the language of legal judgement always falls on the side that favours those interests under the misnomer of Irish law. This further extends into the social and political class system; certain cases examined here reveal this to be equally outside the boundaries of the punishable. The notion of an Irish crime seems predicated on foundational structures of the nation that set limits to any possibility of justice as the terms of judgement are skewed in favour of dominant classes in an impoverished public sphere.
That the financial crisis of 2007–2008 was a matter of global import is by now very much a truism. Banks collapsing, the sub-prime mortgage market in the USA becoming toxic and a worldwide economic recession were the most notable effects of the property bubble and the easy credit conditions that enabled a feeding frenzy before the whole financial structure imploded. The effects of this crisis on Ireland, both as an economy and as a society, were similarly drastic. The period of the Celtic Tiger, when Ireland was the poster-child of global capitalism and property expansion, shuddered to a halt. New estates were replaced by ghost estates; immigration was replaced...
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