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.
of what characterized the country in the mid-twentieth century was obdurately pre-modern’, and not until 1972, with Ireland's entry into the European Economic Community, were ‘old moulds … broken with apparent decisiveness’. 10 This arrival into the modern era strikes one as rather late and sudden. Joseph Lee views modernisation as a cumulative process that emerged out of nineteenth-century peasant-based society due to slow improvements to farming, combined with concurrent processes of depopulation and infrastructural reform. Lee gauged Irishmodernity throughout
Community, language and culture under the Celtic Tiger
the preserved cultural remnant of ‘progress’ (see below). From this perspective,
the Irish language and its speakers embody a ‘tradition’ which is, at
best, eccentric to Irish ‘modernity’.
The Telecom advertisement shows that the modern Irish state still
needs indigenous culture to legitimise itself, even while fully embracing
the new regime of transnational capital. According to an advertising
The brief handed down to [the advertising agency] Irish International
was straight forward – design a campaign to generate awareness about
the flotation and to
jettison tradition completely. What unites these seemingly
polarised positions is a view of the past as an agreed-upon fiction. Affluent
Irishmodernity, the novel suggests, is underpinned by a wilful amnesia
and a pernicious effacement of history, traits personified by Seoda
Fitzgibbon, the glamorous wife of a corrupt businessman, for whom
the perpetual present is the primary ground of personal and socioeconomic success. Her pithy annulment of two centuries of history
provides an appropriate endpoint for this brief survey of contemporary
Irish fiction and autobiography
more co-operative economy, and debates of a social and political nature played out in its pages.
Organisation became the watchword of the co-operative movement and the IAOS acted as an important harbinger of Irishmodernity as it strove to reorganise the countryside. The IAOS embarked upon the creation of a detailed study of the countryside as it strove to know as much about the rural population and its socio-economic conditions as possible. The IAOS's annual reports contained a reservoir of information related to each co-operative society. The