Irishness and nationalisms
in Are the Irish different?
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Many traditional historical and literary studies of Irish nationalism insist on its unique characteristics. Some focus on the unusual mixture of ethnic and civic ideas that have historically underpinned nationalist narratives and practices in Ireland. The author argues that despite some superficial differences Irish nationalism is not unique. Irish nationalist ideologies and movements have originated and developed in a similar historical period and under similar structural conditions to other European nationalisms. The author contests the idea that nationalism in Ireland is experiencing a gradual decline. As nationalism requires the presence of strong organisational and ideological scaffolding and well-established cross-class ties of solidarity, the existence of strong nationalism entails intensive social development. In contrast to its post-Independence incarnation associated with poverty, insularity and nationalism, contemporary Ireland is often depicted as being the hub of modern global trends.

Editor: Tom Inglis
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