Community, language and culture under the Celtic Tiger
Irish language culture embodies all the tensions and contradictions historically pertaining to the relationships between community, nation and state. The Irish state has followed patterns typical of nineteenth- and twentieth-century nation building, in that it has sought to establish a unity of geographic space, language and ethnic culture. Rural Irish-speakers encountered colonial power relations, the ideologies and practices of political economy and the English language as one package. The Irish state portrayed the Gaeltacht as the 'storehouse' or 'treasure' of identity in a nation state. As 'the crucible of Irish postmodernity', the Gaeltacht has become the state's testing ground for decentralisation and local governance, as well as for the progressive recognition of linguistic and cultural minority rights. By opening up closed networks of both community and governance, Gaeltacht activism has pointed the way for the reduced role of the postmodern Irish state in its Celtic Tiger phase.
This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on new social democracy (NSD). The book has argued that New Labour and NSD both failed to find a real alternative to the conservative hegemony and criticised the New Labour's preference for the combination of weak equality and strong reciprocity. This study has suggested that New Labour should be considered as both an effect and perpetuation of the security state and showed that the ‘old’ social democracy is not as discredited as new social democrats would have us believe. It has also proposed basic a model of ecowelfare, outlined a theory of intergenerational justice and suggested a multidimensional conception of human nature.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book describes that quality is inevitably about controversy over standards, and presents a set of diverse and detailed observations. It analyses of what it is to make a claim that something is of better quality than something else. The book focuses on a number of contrasting approaches to quality of food. It describes that different quality attributes could also have included contributions from sensory studies, biology, toxicology, psychology and others. It illustrates some of the ways in which the duty of interpretation may be conducted, suggesting a number of different ways to handle the quandaries of judgement. The book examines quality in the consumption sphere, several of the contributions have tacitly recognised links to commercial considerations.
This chapter reflects on two qualitative research projects, How Was It For You? and Balancing Your Life, that was carried out between 1999 and 2001, with people experiencing both the ways of life. It discusses the connections between individual choices and the ways that economic values affect society, and asserts that the public and private spheres cannot be considered in isolation from each other. Democracy in growth economies, which include Ireland, has been undermined by the extreme wealth owned by global corporations. Limits discourses create the conditions for critical thinking about the bigger picture and the longer term. Many people consequently live in a work-earn-spend cycle, spending much of what they earn on possessions and services now considered essential for everyday life. The 'reality' discourses have the effect of making people feel trapped in a cycle of earning, working, spending, consuming and meeting financial commitments, including the servicing of debts.
To conceptualize future directions of cultural studies depends on how the origins and genealogy of that discipline has been conceptualized. Two stories of origins have emerged, the textual and the sociological, the first of which is probably dominant within British academia. On the contrary, the sociological account is illuminating, even if one prefers to privilege the textual. Cultural studies are historically derived from adult education institutions, which determine the forms of knowledge that once passed as cultural studies, but such institutional contingencies are rarely regarded as being of theoretical significance. A cultural study has something particular to offer the rest of the academy because of its fluid intellectual boundaries and its newness as a university discipline. South African cultural studies provide an institutional matrix in which the traditional distinctions between academic and aesthetic production, like those between theoretical reflection and policy development, are deliberately interrogated, challenged and transformed.
This chapter brings together the principles of attention and distributive justice and argues for a welfare democracy. It explains that welfare democracy is a system of deliberative democracy within which discursive debate occupies a much greater role in the operation of welfare services and it represents an egalitarian alternative to conservatism. This chapter concludes that both associative and deliberative approaches to democracy are essential to a new politics of equality.
This chapter draws on a study of amateurs' music- and food-lovers' practices, to show that taste is an activity and not a passive or determined state. A number of sociological and anthropological works offer literature reviews or compilations of key writings on taste. Instead of contrasting the qualities perceived by actors with an objective quality, some research programmes try to articulate the social and material dimensions of taste. The chapter presents comparative ethnographical observations of wine amateurs and gourmets, on the one hand, and music lovers on the other hand. The comparison of music and wine or food was aimed at providing evidence about the relationship between the amateur and what she or he likes, beyond native self-descriptions that always insist on the radical specificity of each object of love.
This chapter discusses Edward Said's work and that of two influential thinkers who share equally complicated relations with materialist theory – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Fredric Jameson – dealing with their respective analyses of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century British imperialism. It focuses on the strengths and the limitations of their respective theorizations in relation to a materialist postcolonial theoretical practice. To do so, the author uses an approach that combines immanent critique with a comparative technique whereby the three thinkers are set in dialogue with one another. The chapter presents their analyses and also focuses on their conceptualizations of imperial culture and of space. Spivak offers a strategic intervention against contemporary Anglo-European bourgeois feminism that animates her discussion of how Jane Eyre's conceptions of European female individualism are predicated on and perpetuate the subordination of non-European women. Said works towards a humanistic politics and a contrapuntal intellectual culture that, for him, provides progress beyond the contemporary deadlock of imperialism and nationalism.
This chapter presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book illuminates numerous dubious assumptions that inform the hitherto hegemonic readings of the nature of contemporary southern Irish society. It develops the social partnership which represents a ruse that acts to conceal and advance the interests of the most privileged sections of southern Irish society. The book argues that the institutions and agents of the state seem unable to conceive of those seeking asylum in the Irish Republic as being other than a burden. It represents an endeavour to see whether it is possible to have a fruitful critical dialogue between Marxism and postmodernism. The book illustrates the lives of people who reside in the twenty-six counties which exhibit all the pressures and dislocations that are the hallmark of the modern world.
Sexual images and innuendo have become commonplace in contemporary advertising; they often fail to register in any meaningful way with the audience. This book examines the essentially racist stereotypes through which Irish people have conventionally been regarded have been increasingly challenged and even displaced perhaps by a sequence of rather more complimentary perspectives. The various developments that are signified within the figure of the Celtic Tiger might be considered to have radically altered the field of political possibility in Ireland. The enormous cuts in public expenditure that marked this period are held to have established a desirable, stable macroeconomic environment. The Celtic Tiger shows that one can use the rhetoric about 'social solidarity' while actually implementing policies which increase class polarisation. The book discusses the current hegemonic construction of Ireland as an open, cosmopolitan, multicultural, tourist-friendly society. The two central pieces of legislation which currently shape Irish immigration policy are the 1996 Refugee Act and the Immigration Bill of 1999. The book offers a critical examination of the realities of the Celtic Tiger for Irish women. Processes of nation state formation invariably invoke homogeneous narratives of ethnicity and national identity. To invoke a collective subject of contemporary Ireland rhetorically is to make such a strategic utopian political assumption. For the last few hundred years, the Gaeltacht has exemplified the crisis of Irish modernity. Culture becomes capital, and vice versa, while political action increasingly consists of the struggle to maintain democratic autonomy in the face of global market forces.