A governmental analysis of the Stop the Spread campaign
In a novel departure in Irish public health promotion, 250,000 free measuring tapes were distributed via pharmacies throughout Ireland to encourage people to measure their waists in 2011. This was part of the Stop the Spread (STS) campaign which sought to change people's perception of a healthy and normal waist size. Its central message was that a waist circumference above 32 and 37 inches for women and men, respectively is overweight and an indicator of particular health risks. This chapter suggests that STS campaign illustrates a change in biopedagogical instructions and techniques in health promotion. It focuses on some recent Foucauldian scholarship in order to extend the relevance of such concepts to twenty-first-century movements in biopolitics and neoliberalism, and in order to set out an analytical framework by which STS can be analysed.
The bank guarantee and Ireland’s financialised neo-liberal growth model
This chapter looks at how the bank guarantee epitomises the Irish case of the perverse legacy of the crisis and the contradictory path of neo-liberalism. The factors such as greed, excessive risk-taking and regulatory policy failures played a role in the Irish crisis. The chapter presents these factors both as symptoms of the deeper dynamics of a financialised neo-liberal growth model and as expressions of how neo-liberal practices and discourses have mutated in the crisis by remaining dominant despite their incongruities. The Irish case of debt displacement and repayment belongs to a broader set of responses in which enormous transfers of wealth are occurring under austerity, as state efforts to manage the crisis in market-friendly ways result in 'wealthfare'. Ireland's first encounter with financialisation occurred through the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
The Second Sex is acclaimed as one of the major wells of inspiration for subsequent feminist thinking and action in the 1960s and 1970s. For writing it, Simone de Beauvoir is hailed as a pioneer, a beacon, the 'mother of us all', the woman to whom we 'owe everything', or, as Beauvoir herself dryly observed, 'this "sacred relic". Beauvoir did not regard herself as a feminist when she wrote The Second Sex. It was only by the 1960s that Beauvoir began to more strongly identify with feminism and feminist politics, and not until the 1970s that she explicitly claimed to be a feminist. In 'Towards liberation', the final part of The Second Sex, Beauvoir puts forward a brief outline of the emancipated woman which clearly ties in with the progression towards a socialist society.
This book analyses and critiques Irish society in the early twenty-first century, but seeks to do so by consciously avoiding myth-making and generalisation. It invites readers to revisit and rethink twelve events that span the years 2001-2009. It shows that all of these events reveal crucial intersections of structural power and resistance in contemporary Ireland. The book shows how the events carry traces of both social structure and human agency. They were shaped by overarching political, economic, social and cultural currents; but they were also responses to proposals, protests, advocacy and demands that have been articulated by a broad spectrum of social actors. The book also explores how power works ideologically and through policy instruments to support dominant models of capital accumulation. Identities are constructed at the interface between public policy, collective commitments and individual biographies. They mobilise both power and resistance, as they move beyond the realm of the personal and become focal points for debates about rights, responsibilities, resources and even the borders of the nation itself. The book suggests that conceptions of Irish identity and citizenship are being redrawn in more positive ways. Family is the cornerstone, the natural, primary and fundamental unit group of society. Marriage is the religious, cultural, commercial, and political institution that defines and embeds its values. The book presents a 2004 High Court case taken by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan for legal recognition of their marriage as a same-sex couple, which had taken place a year previously in Canada.
This book provides a series of rich reflections on the interaction between the radical ideas and political action in Ireland. It aims to provide insights into how selected mobilising classics have framed or have the potential to frame Irish social movement discourses and oppositional activity. The book provides an account of the contributor's personal encounters with the classic text, some by word of mouth from their parents, others through copies passed around in activists' groups, and others still through serendipitous reading. The classic text were published over a period that spans three centuries. Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man, published in 1791, is the oldest text considered, whereas Our Common Future, published in 1987 by the UN-established World Commission on Environment and Development, is the most recent. In Hilary Tovey's commentary on Our Common Future, the work of a committee, she reveals tensions within the classic text and argues that its key concept 'sustainable development' is an inspirational but confused one. Orla McDonnell's essay on The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz considers his ideas about the huge social costs of the medicalisation of 'the problems of living'. In contrast, Orla O'Donovan's reflections on Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality, consider how his ideas can springboard our thinking beyond the prisons of visionlessness or circumscribed political imaginations. Eileen O'Carroll's essay on William Thompson's Practical Education for the South of Ireland traces early Irish articulations of socialist feminism.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book analyses Irish society in the early twenty-first century, but seeks to do so by consciously avoiding myth-making and generalisation. It explores how power works ideologically and through policy instruments to support dominant models of capital accumulation. The book discusses how neo-liberalism as both an ideology and practice continues to 'fail forward' despite being implicated as cause and aftereffect of the global economic crisis. It describes the powerful discursive and disciplinary force of 'development'; how it is invoked in politics and the media to nullify debate and to disguise its own ideological underpinnings and the provisionality of its assumptions. The book presents twelve events that span the years 2001-2009.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book aims to provide insights into how selected mobilising classics have framed or have the potential to frame Irish social movement discourses and oppositional activity. James Connolly, along with Thomas Paine and William Thompson, encountered by many Irish people when learning history, but few appear to be familiar with their intellectual legacies and how their ideas have influenced and used in various political struggles. The book provides an account of the contributor's personal encounters with the classic text, some by word of mouth from their parents, others through copies passed around in activists' groups, and others still through serendipitous reading. Contributors reflect on how the text has the potential to nourish and invigorate the political imagination of contemporary oppositional politics.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book addresses the problems of capitalism, they all by various means offer alternative ways of thinking and acting against oppression and inequality. It demonstrates the problems social movements encounter when the transformative potential of their language and its political implications becomes disarmed in some way. The book traces the afterlife of Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton's formulation of institutional racism, now 'hegemonic and state-sanctioned institutional racism-lite'. The book describes the simplest ways in which mobilising texts remain a necessity, by continuing to provide a template or a source for clarifying concepts, resisting their uncritical meanings, and reinforcing particular activist strategies. It also describes the ways in which the colonisation of movement language and concepts is symptomatic of problems at a more fundamental level for left-wing political strategies.