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The Leaving of Ireland

Migration and Belonging in Irish Literature and Film


John Lynch and Katherina Dodou

The Leaving of Ireland brings together an international group of scholars to reflect critically on the unfolding nature of the experience of Irish cultural identity at a time when Ireland is struggling to adjust to the shattering impacts of globalization and religious scandals of recent decades. Looking back over the last two centuries, the volume considers a range of literary and filmic works that have sought to articulate something of this experience and its multiple locations. The essays revisit crucial constituents of Irish history and self-perception at the micro-level, exploring the representation of individual experiences of migration and identification and the definition of a sense of belonging. They also examine these issues at the macro-level, looking at larger politico-historical transformations, national affiliations and changed social and geographical landscapes. The book is organized around key themes including history, mobility, memory and place and addresses the works of a wide range of authors, including Emily Lawless, Frank McCourt, Sinéad Morrissey, Paul Muldoon, Joseph O’Connor, J.M. Synge and W.B. Yeats.
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‘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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