Linda Connolly
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A new vision of Irish studies
in Are the Irish different?
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This chapter outlines some of the complex debates and transformations that have since 1980s taken place in the field of Irish studies. It explores some of the ways in which the Irish and Irishness have been framed. The chapter addresses the marginal role of sociology and social science in the field of Irish studies. It argues against the perpetuation of a conceptually narrow, limited and exclusive interpretation of the categories, the Irish, Irishness and Ireland, which are in reality contested terms. The chapter proposes inclusive ways of conceptualising that are more sensitive to research emerging from the social sciences and sociology, specifically. For some scholars, the notion of Irish exceptionalism is the overarching framework used to best understand and define Ireland. Irish studies are preoccupied with history and literary criticism, and postcolonialism and feminist criticism, and it continues to evade social science and other critical perspectives in the field.

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