Paradigms of Irishness for Young People in Dublin
Moffatt, Joseph (2011) Paradigms of Irishness for Young People in Dublin. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
The history of Ireland highlights how Irish identity has proved to be both an emotive and divisive force in Irish society. Events in both pre and post-independent Ireland point out how central Irishness has been within Irish society and also highlights how a sense of national identity has often been assumed as shared, natural and fundamentally taken for granted. Accepting that hegemonic understanding of Irishness change, so in 1900 – when Ireland was of course part of the United Kingdom – the dominant sense of Irishness may differ to that of 1971 or 2004, there can be no avoiding the position that people in Ireland remain firmly socialised through a discourse of nationalised identity. The aim of this research is to investigate how young people engage with this nationalised identity and position their own self-understandings of Irishness. Following on from explaining young peoples‟ sense of identity this research formalises their understandings of Irishness into particular paradigms of Irish identity. The findings show that though young people strongly identify with Irishness their understandings are often shifted around to accommodate varied meanings which can be implied of Irishness. Young people then hold both a solid and fluid sense of Irishness which allows shifting meanings of Irishness to fit contextual sitations. Young people may overwhelming identity with Irishness but in comparison to how emotive and essentially stable Irishness was for much of the Twentieth century, it is fair to say young people embrace a brand of Irishness that might be termed Light Irishness.
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