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Rivers in pre-modern Ireland

Environment and economy

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Victoria L. McAlister

Tower house distributions are strongly correlated with rivers. The function of rivers in pre-modern Ireland is examined in this chapter. This chapter gives an overview of what fresh water supplied to historical populations, and then considers environmental exploitation. Fish weirs and fishponds are both encountered at tower house sites. These were a source of both food and income. The evidence for fish weirs and traps as a preferred method for catching fish is weighed against the tendency for fishponds elsewhere in medieval Europe at high-status sites.

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Movement, transport and communication

Tower houses and waterways

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Victoria L. McAlister

Not only did rivers provide water and food, they were the arteries of pre-modern Ireland’s transport and communication networks. This chapter explains how tower houses were uniquely distributed to control long-distance movement, both by navigable river and by sea. Many tower houses were constructed at communication nodal points or chokepoints, which enabled them to control movement as well as providing an income for occupants. Tower houses are therefore regularly associated with bridges, fords, causeways, ferries and passes.

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The medieval agrarian economy

Lifeblood of the tower house

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Victoria L. McAlister

Medieval Europe was a predominantly agrarian society. Although the extent to which manorialism existed within medieval Ireland has been debated, pre-modern Ireland’s economy was nevertheless dominated by agriculture. This chapter identifies what specific kinds of agriculture occurred at tower houses. The distribution and roles of arable, pastoral and mixed agricultural economies are considered. An underappreciated evidence source for tower house control of the historical agrarian economy are water mills, found here to be a manorial feature often located in conjunction with tower houses.

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The Irish tower house

Society, economy and environment, c. 1300–1650

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Victoria L. McAlister

Tower houses are the ubiquitous building of pre-modern Ireland. A type of castle, the tower house was constructed c.1350–1650, and extant examples number in the thousands. This book examines the social role of the tower house in late medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to uncover the lived experience of a wide range of people. This enables exploration of the castle’s context, including how it was used as a social tool and in environmental exploitation for economic gain. By challenging traditional interpretations of the Middle Ages we find new evidence for the agency of previously overlooked individuals, and thus a new insight into the transition from medieval to modern. Each chapter in the book builds on the one preceding, to echo the movement of trade good from environmental exploitation to entry into global economic networks, keeping focus on the role of the tower house in facilitating each step. By progressively broadening the scope, the conclusion is reached that the tower house can be used as a medium for analysing the impact of global trends at the local level. It accomplishes this lofty goal by combining archival evidence with archaeological fieldwork and on-site survey to present a fresh perspective on one of the best-known manifestations of Irish archaeology.

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Victoria L. McAlister

The innovative and original contribution made by the tower house to the fields of archaeology and history is assessed. A new methodology is elucidated that combines historical, archaeological, architectural and geographical sources. The introduction likewise locates the book within its wider historiographical context.

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Around the castle wall

The tower house complex and rural settlement

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Victoria L. McAlister

When we visit tower houses today, they usually stand abandoned, in isolation within modern landscapes. This chapter finds the medieval reality was very different. It assesses what archaeological features might be found in the immediate vicinity of the tower. This includes the buildings found within the bawn, or enclosing wall, as well as the peasant settlement located around rural tower houses. Whether this associated peasant settlement was nucleated or dispersed is analysed.

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The work of cosmetic surgery tourism II

Health workers and patients

Ruth Holliday, Meredith Jones and David Bell

This chapter discusses the work of nursing staff and surgeons in cosmetic surgery tourism. For surgeons, our research uncovered ambiguities surrounding professional standing and identity, and we explore how surgeons narrate their career trajectories and the pride they have for their work, as well as how they attempt to head off criticisms of their specialism. The discussion draws on sociological research on care work, body work, emotional labour and aesthetic labour. We discuss how surgeons negotiate an increasingly entrepreneurial role, showing how tensions emerge in their interactions with medical travel facilitators. We show how key moments such as the clinical consultation frame both doctors’ and patients’ understandings of surgery. The consultation is not simply about surgeons asserting their professional authority over ‘duped’ patients; instead, it is a negotiation towards a desired outcome for both parties. This leads us into a discussion of the forms of work that patients themselves undertake in cosmetic surgery tourism. Rather than passive recipients of others’ labours, patient-travellers work hard to accomplish their surgical journeys – and some later capitalise on this work by themselves becoming medical travel facilitators and guiding others through the same journeys.

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The work of cosmetic surgery tourism I

Caregiving companions and medical travel facilitators

Ruth Holliday, Meredith Jones and David Bell

This chapter begins an exploration of the forms of work or labour that are brought together to make cosmetic surgery tourism happen. The analysis is framed by discussions in the sociology of work about care work, body work, emotional labour and aesthetic labour. The chapter opens with an overview of the cosmetic surgery tourism industry to provide context for the analysis of forms of work. The remainder of the chapter focuses on forms of work undertaken by those who travel with cosmetic surgery tourists and the various intermediaries who work to facilitate surgical journeys. In the former category we show how informal caregivers who travel with patients perform a vital function in enabling and supporting those travelling for surgery. In the case of intermediaries, facilitators and coordinators, we explore how this novel set of roles has emerged as a new business sector with increasing heterogeneity and complexity. We provide a typology of medical travel facilitators (MTFs), drawing on our ethnographic material to show who these workers are and the forms of work they perform. We show that MTFs occupy a central but contested position in the cosmetic surgery tourism assemblage.

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Ruth Holliday, Meredith Jones and David Bell

This chapter consists of a plate section of forty-three colour images.

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Ruth Holliday, Meredith Jones and David Bell

This chapter outlines the theoretical framing of medical tourism that we deploy in the analysis presented in Beautyscapes. It draws on Appadurai’s notion of disjunctive global flows and ‘scapes’, combining this with insights from work on networks and from assemblage thinking, in order to theorise how cosmetic surgery tourism is assembled by heterogeneous actors, and to show how this coming together is contingent and emergent. Global flows come together in particular places at particular times, and this notion helps us understand the comings-together that characterise cosmetic surgery tourism. Empirical detail drawn from our fieldwork enables us to develop a nuanced analysis of how networks are assembled and how cosmetic surgery tourism takes place and makes place. Our analysis is guided by a further conceptual framing that we also introduce in this chapter: Mol’s discussion of the logic of care and the logic of choice. Rather than simply counterposing these two logics, we see them as intricately entangled in the ways in which cosmetic surgery tourism is understood by the many actors with a stake in it.