James Joyce had Leopold Bloom, his fictional Irish Jew protagonist of Ulysses, define a nation as the same people living in the same place. Whilst writings on nationalism and national identity put limited emphasis on linguistic distinctiveness, many Irish cultural nationalists seemed to focus on little else. After independence, the Irish language became institutionalised as a compulsory school subject and a validator of Irish distinctiveness. English remained the language of Irish modernity as well as being one of the main vehicles of Irish cultural nationalism. The post-1932 dominance of the Irish state by Fianna Fail under Eamon de Valera coincided with a reassertion of unifying nationalism symbolism. Irish identities rooted in Catholicism found expression in communities as well as through the kinds of national Catholic pageantry exemplified by the 1932 Eucharistic Congress.
The isolationism of the new state affected, even shaped, Irish writers such as Frank O'Connor and Sean O'Faoláin. The hidden Ireland that preoccupied O'Faoláin was the silent Ireland of the 1940s. O'Faoláin objected to Daniel Corkery's idealisation of an uneducated peasant culture in The Hidden Irelandas a model for independent Ireland. In O'Faoláin's version, the peasants of The Hidden Ireland were badly in need of a true political leader but hardly ready for the one that they actually got in Daniel O'Connell. O'Faoláin looked at poems from the perspective of a political historian. He argued that The Hidden Ireland 'sinned from over softness and romanticism' but acknowledged that his own King of the Beggars 'sins, perhaps, from harshness, or impatience, due to a deliberate insistence on political realism'.
One of the legacies of the Celtic Tiger period of rapid economic growth has been the transformation of the Republic of Ireland (hereafter Ireland) into a multi-ethnic society with a large permanent immigrant population. Ireland's immigrant population seemed to have increased during the economic crisis. During Ireland's one and only immigration crisis, at least in terms of how this was portrayed, some media accounts claimed that Ireland was being 'swamped' by asylum seekers. The social partnership consensus was that large-scale immigration was in the national interest and this in turn was to be exclusively defined in terms of economic growth. During the economic crisis government policy towards non-EU migrants had two elements. It became harder for new non-EU migrants to obtain visas to work in Ireland, but the rules became more flexible for those already living in Ireland who had become unemployed.
In 1992, Francis Fukuyama declared the end of history, suggesting that with the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberalism had triumphed as the political and economic paradigm across a globalised world. Methodological nationalism is a term used by sociologists to refer to social inquiry which is bounded by political borders. Nationalism, as an ideology, assumed that humanity is naturally divided into a limited number of nations. Nationalism on the inside organises themselves as nation-states and, on the outside, set boundaries to distinguish themselves from other nation-states. Sociologists who have focused on nationalism have emphasised shifts from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft within national containers. Marxists envisaged that nationalism and patriotism would be swept aside by proletarian internationalism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels gave some thought to how Irish nationalism might help to bring about socialism.
This book examines the debates and processes that have shaped the modernisation of Ireland since the beginning of the twentieth century. There are compelling justifications for methodological nationalism using research and analysis focused on the jurisdiction of a nation-state. The nation-state remains a necessary unit of analysis not least because it is a unit of taxation and representation, a legal and political jurisdiction, a site of bounded loyalties and of identity politics. The book argues that nationalism in twenty-first-century Ireland is even more powerful and socially embedded than it was in de Valera's Ireland. It considers what kind of Ireland Pearse wanted to bring about. Pearse proposed a model that was very different from the already dominant Catholic model that did much to incubate modern Ireland. Beyond this, Catholicism offered a distinct response to modernity aimed at competing with the two main secular ideologies: liberalism and socialism. Women have been marginalised in most of the debates that shaped Ireland even where they were directly affected by them. One of the most picked-over episodes in twentieth-century Irish history has been the conflict surrounding the Mother and Child Scheme. The book examines this conflict as a starting point of an analysis of the place of women in post-independence Ireland. It further addresses the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, the name given to a period of rapid economic growth that was likened to the performance of East Asian 'tiger' economies.
The Bell was hardly unflinching throughout its fourteen or so years of existence. The Bell published new fiction and poetry for Sean O'Faoláin, was ancillary to its main intended purpose of documenting life in Irish society. A 1942 piece by O'Faoláin lambasted the response to emigration of An Glor, a fortnightly periodical published by the Gaelic League. Kelly Matthews's The Bell Magazine and the Representation of Irish Identity is primarily a work of literary criticism. Matthews is at her strongest when documenting The Bell's project of representing Irish culture and Irish identity through a focus on everyday life and homespun artefacts. Alongside articles on life in slums, and the experiences of unemployed people and of emigrants, O'Faoláin was also keen to represent the richness of Irish material culture.
In 1933 Daniel Binchy, a professor of legal history and jurisprudence at University College Dublin (UCD), published an astute article in Studies on Adolf Hitler. In addition to Binchy's 1933 demolition of racial theory and other articles in a similar vein Studies published many other analyses of cultural and essentialist nationalism. The politics of cultural nationalism since the death of Daniel O'Connell had presented the Gaelic revival as a cultural restoration. A 1938 symposium in Studies, whereby a number of writers including Binchy responded to an article by Michael Tierney on King of the Beggars, adroitly captured the underlying intellectual politics. Implicit in Tierney's critique of how alien ideas filtered into Ireland was the absence of native political intellectual tradition. Fake traditions were useful fictions according to Tierney but ones that could best be done without according to Binchy.
Economic Development (1958), a report written by T.K. Whitaker, the then senior official in the Department of Finance, has been venerated as the foundation text of a new post-1950s nation-building project. The main body of the report was nothing special; it mostly focused on prospects for Irish agriculture. The second canonical text of this new developmental nation-building project was the OECD/Irish Government 1965 report Investment in Education. This has been credited with jolting the focus of Irish education from religious formation to one on economic development. By the 1960s Travellers had become economically and socially displaced from the rural society. The general movement of Travellers to urban centres was part of broader demographic changes in Irish society. Efforts to settle Travellers in designated halting sites were blocked by local politicians representing residents of whatever areas were proposed.
Sprightly venerable former Chief Justice Barrington, at the launch of Tomas Finn's book on Tuairim, described how the organisation was envisaged as a cross between the Young Irelander movement of the 1840s and the Fabian Society. Finn's cast of Tuairim characters overlap with the heroes of Lee and Garvin's narratives. Tuairim's aim was to shift public opinion and influence government policy. In Tomas Finn's analysis the Tuairim research group did not seem to believe what it was told by victims was reticent in criticising perpetrators. It argued against corporal punishment for 'sex offences' by boys because such punishment would be more psychologically harmful than the 'sex offence itself'. Tuairim was part of a new official Ireland, part of what became the dominant consensus on social and economic modernisation.
Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland, edited by Mark O'Brien and Felix Larkin, is the first comprehensive survey of its kind of outlets for Irish public intellectuals and journalists who shared George Orwell's reasons for writing. Whilst some of these periodicals championed reportage and were committed to investigative journalism, many were explicitly partisan in the doctrines and ideologies they championed. D. P. Moran viewed separatist nationalist rhetoric as a self-deception that reinforced Irish unionism. Under Moran's editorship The Leader advocated clerical nationalism and a pragmatic approach to Anglo-Irish relations aimed at securing Catholic influence over Irish administration. In Moran's analysis, three elements were needed to secure Irish independence. He endorsed a nationalism that insisted that to be Irish was, firstly and secondly, to be Gaelic and to be Gaelic was, with a few honourable exceptions, to be Catholic. Thirdly, Moran emphasised economic development as a means to self-determination.