Decentring the Irish Land War
Women, politics and the private sphere
in Land questions in modern Ireland
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The dominant Irish historical narrative, at its most basic, sees the history of Ireland since the nineteenth century as a series of revolts and risings which posed a direct challenge to the state with lulls in between. This narrative has been underpinned by a narrow notion of the political centred on the arena of the state. Little account is taken in this narrative of the more everyday forms of resistance that constituted rural agitation in Ireland, and the historical writings which seek to challenge its narrow parameters by focusing on such issues as agrarian unrest are widely considered to belong to social as opposed to political history. In this chapter Heather Laird, in making a case for broadening our definition of the political and the centrality of women to much local resistance, demonstrates how a variety of Land War ‘public’ activism reached into and overlapped with the ‘private’ household sphere.

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