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Conflict, capital and culture

In this book, George Legg provides a new interpretation of the Northern Irish Troubles. From internment to urban planning, the hunger strikes to post-conflict tourism, Legg asserts that concepts of capitalism have been consistently deployed to alleviate and exacerbate violence in the North. Through a detailed analysis of the cultural texts, Legg traces the affective energies produced by capitalism’s persistent attempt to resolve Northern Ireland’s ethnic-national divisions: a process he calls the politics of boredom. Such an approach warrants a reconceptualisation of boredom as much as cultural production. In close readings of Derek Mahon’s poetry, the photography of Willie Doherty and the female experience of incarceration, Legg argues that cultural texts can delineate a more democratic – less philosophical – conception of ennui. Critics of the Northern Irish Peace Process have begun to apprehend some of these tensions. But an analysis of the post-conflict condition cannot account for capitalism’s protracted and enervating impact in Northern Ireland. Consequently, Legg returns to the origins of the Troubles and uses influential theories of capital accumulation to examine how a politicised sense of boredom persists throughout, and after, the years of conflict. Like Left critique, Legg’s attention to the politics of boredom interrogates the depleted sense of humanity capitalism can create. What Legg’s approach proposes is as unsettling as it is radically new. By attending to Northern Ireland’s long-standing experience of ennui, this book ultimately isolates boredom as a source of optimism as well as a means of oppression.

A socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath

This book examines the phenomenon of the rise and fall of the Irish Celtic Tiger from a cultural perspective. It looks at Ireland's regression from prosperity to austerity in terms of a society as opposed to just an economy. Using literary and cultural theory, it looks at how this period was influenced by, and in its turn influenced, areas such as religion, popular culture, politics, literature, photography, gastronomy, music, theatre, poetry and film. It seeks to provide some answers as to what exactly happened to Irish society in the past few decades of boom and bust. The socio-cultural rather than the purely economic lens it uses to critique the Celtic Tiger is useful because society and culture are inevitably influenced by what happens in the economic sphere. That said, all of the measures taken in the wake of the financial crash sought to find solutions to aid the ailing economy, and the social and cultural ramifications were shamefully neglected. The aim of this book therefore is to bring the ‘Real’ of the socio-cultural consequences of the Celtic Tiger out of the darkness and to initiate a debate that is, in some respects, equally important as the numerous economic analyses of recent times. The essays analyse how culture and society are mutually-informing discourses and how this synthesis may help us to more fully understand what happened in this period, and more importantly, why it happened.

Place, space and discourse
Editors: Christine Agius and Dean Keep

Identity is often regarded as something that is possessed by individuals, states, and other agents. In this edited collection, identity is explored across a range of approaches and under-explored case studies with a view to making visible its fractured, contingent, and dynamic features. The book brings together themes of belonging and exclusion, identity formation and fragmentation. It also examines how identity functions in discourse, and the effects it produces, both materially and in ideational terms. Taking in case studies from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the various chapters interrogate identity through formal governing mechanisms, popular culture and place. These studies demonstrate the complex and fluid nature of identity and identity practices, as well as implications for theorising identity.

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The psychogeography of sectarianism in Northern Irish photography

3 Double negative: the psychogeography of sectarianism in Northern Irish photography In Northern Ireland sectarianism is typically defined by its ‘destructive patterns of relating’.1 As a mode of speech it preaches hate and division, as a physical action it produces violence and devastation. It poses a threat to social harmony and jeopardises the well-­being of a population. As such, sectarianism is little desired and greatly despised. The Good Friday Agreement, for example, ‘seeks to remove’ sectarian symbols and the divisions they serve to propagate.2 And yet

in Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom
Total history and the H-Blocks in film

(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 117. 87 ‘The producers of H3 reconstructed the prison interior in Ardmore Studios, relying on Maze Prison exteriors for authenticity. Blair made “every effort to be as authentic as possible”’ (Cahal McLaughlin, ‘Cold, Hungry, and Scared: Prison Films about the “Troubles”’, in Ireland in Focus: Film, Photography, and Popular Culture ed. by Eóin Flannery and Michael Griffin (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2009), p. 51). McQueen recounts how he built the set ‘exactly to the specifications of the actual H-­block, so there were

in Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom
Open Access (free)

they were described. Just so did Mozart's Don Giovanni and Leporello by exchanging clothes enable Giovanni to evade his pursuers. But dressing as someone else has its perils. In Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible it was by flattering the conspirators’ candidate for the throne into wearing the royal robes that the tzar diverted the assassin's knife to the usurper whose cause it was meant to advance. 13 In an age without photography, film, television, or the Internet, faces were unknown beyond an immediate circle, while clothes proclaimed a king. Renaissance theatre is

in Cultivating political and public identity
Keeping watch on the Communists 1933–39

well established in London. His wife Ilse had followed him to London at the end of 1933. From 1936, they lived at 52 Parliament Hill, in a flat owned by the Communist film director and producer Ralph Bond. During the 1930s, Bond was making a name as a documentary film-maker; he was also known to MI5 as a member of the CPGB. Through John Grierson, Bond had been offered a job as production manager at the GPO Film Unit, a role which enabled him to give Meyer the opportunity to write and edit music for GPO documentary films. 10_Charmian_Ch-8.indd 87 9/4/2013 5:47:28 PM

in A matter of intelligence
The Free German League of Culture

Stefan Zweig and the film director Berthold Viertel. Of these, only Kokoschka remained in his position throughout the seven years of the League’s existence. The emphasis on cultural rather than political aims reflected the restrictions on overt political activity imposed on refugees by the British government. For the League, and its Austrian counterpart, the Austrian Centre, cultural associations were also a surrogate for political activity: politics by other means.1 The League quickly attracted the attention of MI5 which, together with Special Branch, kept it and its

in A matter of intelligence
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developmental process of modernism and modernization that has been the pattern in most other Western economies and societies. The slow embourgeoisement of these European cultures has left a strong legacy of literature, music and, more recently, film, through which the gradual changes in society were expressed and commented upon. However, such was the speed of the Irish economy’s growth that these concomitant socio-­ cultural paradigms had not evolved. Literature and culture are means by which language can be used to signify the traumatic real of an event. All of the economic

in From prosperity to austerity

‘people want a structure and meaning in their environment that will reflect, and in part create, a structure in their lives. Craigavon has completely failed to provide them with this.’14 Through the photographs that Sloan would go on to produce in response to Craigavon’s uneven development, we get perhaps the clearest sense of how the disjunction between its fixed and mobile capital came to reflect this wider social disruption. Sloan’s photography would eventually come to challenge the perception that Craigavon was little more than a static and soulless locale. None the

in Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom