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Critical reflections on the Celtic Tiger

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.

Community, language and culture under the Celtic Tiger
Steve Coleman

struggle to maintain democratic autonomy in the face of global market forces. Yet what they term the ‘informatisation’ of eih ch-10.P65 187 26/3/03, 15:18 188 Coleman production amounts mostly to the transition to a service-based economy,58 a process in which Ireland is quite advanced. The typical service sector worker, whether he or she lives in Dublin, in Ros Muc, County Galway or even in Keokuk, Iowa, is now freer than ever to participate in a global community of Irish-speakers. As a cultural producer, he or she may find his or her products accruing market value

in The end of Irish history?