This chapter explores whether the use of ‘consumer’ pressure in improving the environmental performance of companies, a tactic long advocated by environmentalists, stands critical scrutiny. It examines some previously ignored connections between processes of organisational purchasing and innovation in the context of the greening of organisations. It builds an argument around the idea of consumption and it does so to problematise explicitly the issue of collective agency as it relates to organisations. In developing the argument, the chapter asks: who is the consumer and what do consumers do? It uses the interplay between concepts of the individual consumer and concepts of the organisational consumer as a way to explicate some key ideas about the greening of consumption. Using the concept of the ‘supply chain’, it suggests that more attention needs to be paid to the mechanisms, both between and within firms and organisations, through which they engage in buying and selling. Such mechanisms are the organisation sites for the articulation of ‘demand’ and ‘consumption’.
G. Honor Fagan
This chapter addresses the complex articulation between the cultural and the economic processes in the discursive construction of Ireland in the era of globalisation. It examines the problematic 'placing' of Ireland in the world. The chapter then traces its constant (re)invention from a cultural political economy approach. Observer Fintan O'Toole notes that 'US culture is itself in part an Irish invention' and that 'Irish culture is inconceivable without America'. To refer to 'tradition' or cultural 'authenticity' today makes little sense when we realise how pragmatic an affair the construction of a national identity is. The image of an uneven but combined development may serve as a useful and evocative backdrop for the analysis of the cultural political economy of contemporary Ireland. A 'cultural' element is clearly an integral part of the Celtic Tiger and the 'political economy' element certainly has a strong 'cultural' component.
Anne McClintock and H. Rider Haggard
This chapter emphasizes gendering imperialism by referring to the work of Anne McClintock and H. Rider Haggard, focusing on McClintock's celebrated Imperial Leather discussion of Haggard's popular and influential imperialist Victorian romance King Solomon's Mines. It depicts the quest for treasure in southern Africa by three British adventurers, who also restore the ‘rightful’ heir to the throne of an African kingdom. The chapter also focuses on the way McClintock analyses the dynamics of labour and degeneration, and explores the political implications of her approach. McClintock suggests that King Solomon's Mines is an allegory of colonial power; specifically, that the novel allegorizes colonial appropriation of African women's reproductive and productive labour. She presents a version of women's reproductive capability in which women are menacingly powerful, regardless of whether they exercise any material control over the reproductive and productive activities of themselves or others.
The UK public's confidence in the quality of the modern food supply, and in the governance of that supply, took a buffeting through a series of food safety crises. At both the UK and the EU level of governance there was a perception of policy failure over the safety of the final food product emerging from the supply chain. The determination of some key decisions by the EU and its member states has been explained within a framework of multilevel governance, in the form of two-level or multilevel strategic bargaining and decision-making. The new institutionalist schools of analysis place an emphasis on the influence of institutions, their operating procedures and practices as shaping factors of public policy. The creation of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) occurred at a juncture when perceptions of policy failure were acknowledged at UK and EU governmental levels.
Journeys through postmodern Dublin
This chapter presents the journey of the author through Postmodern Dublin. The author wanted to strip Dublin of its ethnological content, resituate it as archaeology and embrace the much postponed confrontation with the tangles of postmodernity. Postmodern renderings of Dublin invoke a nostalgia for the 'modern Dublin' reputedly best exemplified in James Joyce's Ulysses and redeploy that nostalgia into the listless contemporary. Contemporary Dublin sees sex released from its necessary association with Catholicism and freed into a general regime of commodification. Irish sin, or sex, is transformed in postmodern Dublin and forms a new defining relationship to money. The author explained that postmodern Dublin was characterised by many examples of such historical transformations and oppositional disruptions in the tranquillity of our modern consciousness. Globalised postmodern Dublin is allowing us to re-represent our identity, where the only inauthentic place is the hysterically immediate present.
An introduction to the book
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.
Critical reflections on the Celtic Tiger
Edited by: Colin Coulter and Steve Coleman
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.
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.
A sociology of the amateur
Geneviève Teil and Antoine Hennion
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 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.