The Irish body
in Are the Irish different?
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This chapter focuses on Irish difference in terms of sexuality and the harsh regimes of bodily discipline and control instituted over centuries. It also focuses on the different technologies and strategies that were developed to create disciplined, docile, and compliant bodies. A focus on the body helps us to think imaginatively when it comes to the understanding of Irish difference. The chapter analyses how the penitential approach to the body became infiltrated with the neo-Jansenistic teachings of the Catholic Church that became dominant in the nineteenth century. This analysis helps to shine a light on the Irish attitudes and practices in relation to desire, pleasure and sexuality. Michel Foucault emphasised how the creation and maintenance of social order was dependent on building a scientific knowledge of what bodies did and how they could be regulated.

Editor: Tom Inglis

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