‘Quoting the poet’

in Men on trial
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This chapter explores the role of storytelling in the courtroom by ordinary people. It explores how men and women used wider popular culture, including their own rhyming culture, in producing legal narratives, asking what their choices say about identity construction. It then looks at storytelling as a tool for lower-order men to negotiate power relationships. It argues that the opportunity for storytelling provided a key moment where lower-order people could assert identity in the courtroom, reshaping courtroom power dynamics to take account of their needs and interpretations of the world. In doing so, lower-order Irish people produced hybrid identities, which complicated any simple story of what it meant to be Irish.

Men on trial

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



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