Opening speeches

An introduction

in Men on trial
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‘Opening speeches’ introduces the historiographical background and methodological contribution of Men on trial. Masculinity is a growing field of study, but histories of masculinity in Ireland are still rare. This book uses newspaper reports of court cases to explore how men constructed their identities in legal space and this chapter introduces this source. It questions the utility of ‘hegemonic masculinities’ as a model for understanding gender identity in colonial and hierarchical contexts. Instead, it proposes the utility of a performative model of masculinity, which places emphasis on identity as embodied experience, incorporating emotion, corporeality, speech and character, and which is located in place. It argues for gender as a productive dynamic in the formation of legal and social power relationships within early nineteenth-century Ireland.

Men on trial

Performing embodiment, emotion and identity in Ireland, 1800-45



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