Theoretical perspectives and the Irish context
in ‘Insubordinate Irish’
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Otherness and the way in which ‘otherness’ or ‘difference’ elucidates meaning has dominated French thought. The French theorisation of the Otherness question highlighted the necessity for ‘difference’. Psychoanalytic theory's emphasis on the formation of the self provided certain insights into the formation of ‘the Other’ and the dialectical relationship that exists between the ‘self’ and ‘the Other’. The ‘Other’ as constructed in the neo-conservative Western European tradition has generally been perceived in negative terms. The ‘Othering’ of Irish Travellers as evidenced in modern Ireland can be linked to the formation of the new nation-state in Ireland. The eighteenth century saw the continuation of the Irish-stereotype tradition as outlined by leading British intellectuals as a justification for colonisation and exploitation. The nineteenth century saw the advent of ‘scientific’ theories of racism. The discursive tradition can be seen as a form of cultural conditioning, one which inculcated an ideology of domination.

‘Insubordinate Irish’

Travellers in the text

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