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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.

Neoliberal crisis, neoliberal solutions

Once held up as a 'poster child' for untrammeled capitalist globalisation, the Irish Republic has more recently come to represent a cautionary tale for those tempted to tread the same neoliberal path. The crash in the world economy had especially grave repercussions for Ireland, and a series of austerity measures has seen the country endure the most substantial 'adjustment' ever experienced in a developed society during peacetime. This book delineates the reactionary course that Ireland has followed since the ignominious demise of the Celtic Tiger. It argues that the forces of neoliberalism have employed the economic crisis they caused to advance policies that are in their own narrow interests, and that the host of regressive measures imposed since the onset of global recession has fundamentally restructured Irish society. The book discusses the mechanisms by which finance in Ireland sustains and reproduces itself, in particular how it was able to protect itself during the 2008 crisis. Property was at the centre of the second phase of the Celtic Tiger boom after US investment in manufacturing began to decline, leading to the Irish economic crash. The years since the onset of the recession in Ireland in 2008 have been characterised not by passivity and quietism but by extreme violence. In December 2009 as part of the first wave of austerity, the Community Development Project was informed that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs proposed not to continue funding the project beyond the end of 2009.

Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

5: Austerity baby I seem not to have made such a good impression when I arrived, at least not on my mother. She started keeping a baby diary on 5 July 1943, just over three months after I was born. Arrived a few days after schedule at 6.10 am Thursday. Very tiny, ugly and thin – folds of skin without any fat. Weighed 6lbs. 4ozs. She improved rapidly however – or maybe I just got more used to her, but even so when we went home (5/4/43) she wasn’t very beautiful. She gained weight very quickly & was soon looking very sweet and lovely – not only my opinion

in Austerity baby
An introduction to the book
Colin Coulter

1 Ireland under austerity: an introduction to the book Colin Coulter #tbscitwiwtat In the closing days of October 2013, Dublin hosted a major gathering at which technology corporations at various stages of development exhibited their wares and explored investment opportunities. Although only in its fourth year, the Web Summit had grown at a remarkable rate and was now capable of attracting ‘9834 attendees from 97 countries around the world’.1 The centrepiece of the two-day event was an informal roundtable discussion of which the undoubted star was the web

in Ireland under austerity
Open Access (free)
Author: Janet Wolff

This book can be described as an 'oblique memoir'. The central underlying and repeated themes of the book are exile and displacement; lives (and deaths) during the Third Reich; mother-daughter and sibling relationships; the generational transmission of trauma and experience; transatlantic reflections; and the struggle for creative expression. Stories mobilised, and people encountered, in the course of the narrative include: the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War; cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s; the social and personal meanings of colour(s). It also includes the industrialist and philanthropist, Henry Simon of Manchester, including his relationship with the Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen; the liberal British campaigner and MP of the 1940s, Eleanor Rathbone; reflections on the lives and images of spinsters. The text is supplemented and interrupted throughout by images (photographs, paintings, facsimile documents), some of which serve to illustrate the story, others engaging indirectly with the written word. The book also explains how forced exile persists through generations through a family history. It showcases the differences between English and American cultures. The book focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations.

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Refiguring Dracula in a neoliberal age
Stéphanie Genz

have been increasingly unmasked in the context of substantial cut-backs, bailouts, mass unemployment and austerity measures that have characterised the post-2008, recessionary world. The ideals of a free-market economy – based on the right to make profits and amass personal wealth – have been the target of a range of anti-capitalist protests that highlight the self-serving and

in Neoliberal Gothic
Liene Ozoliņa

2 Temporalities of austerity ‘You have to keep moving in spite of everything’1 It was an early morning in October 2011, and I was walking through the Central Market to Riga’s unemployment office. The market was bustling as always, despite the fact that Latvians were still coping with the aftermath of the economic crisis. The effects of the crisis were visible in the public space: there were fewer people and cars on the streets and more closed-down shops and restaurants. Instead, little cafes were popping up one after another in the centre of the city where

in Politics of waiting
The return of citizenship claims
Marisol García

11  Marisol García Cities under economic austerity: the return of citizenship claims Citizenship is the engine for the creation of spaces for collective action when people’s life chances have been undermined and urban societies experience social and political tensions. Low wages and unemployment challenge social citizenship and so do the diminishing economic and social entitlements of workers. Historically the first two – wages and unemployment benefits – were the battlefield of industrial and social citizenship. But the other two gradually became incorporated

in Western capitalism in transition
Francisco Arqueros-Fernández

10 Lessons from the era of Social ­Partnership for the Irish labour movement Francisco Arqueros-Fernández Introduction A recent briefing paper by Oxfam warns that if Europe does not turn away from austerity measures an additional 15 to 25 million Europeans will be living in poverty by 2025. The paper compares current austerity measures to the structural adjustment policies imposed on Africa and Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s: ‘These policies were a failure’ and ‘have dismantled the mechanisms that reduce inequality and enable equitable growth’.1 Several

in Ireland under austerity
Alison Spillane

. As a result, the implementation of austerity has had a noticeably gendered effect, with poorer women bearing the brunt of the burden. The most recent data from the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions showed that income inequality grew between 2009 and 2010 before a slight (though not statistically significant) decrease in 2011. The deprivation rate increased considerably between 2007 and 2012 and, after an initial decrease, the at-risk-of-poverty rate began to climb from 2009 onwards. Non-governmental organisation (NGO) analysis of subsequent Budgets

in Ireland under austerity