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Author: Bryan Fanning

In the last decade Irish society has visibly changed with the emergence of new immigrant communities of black and ethnic minorities. This book draws upon a number of academic disciplines, focusing on the relationship between ideological forms of racism and its consequences upon black and ethnic minorities. Media and political debates on racism in Ireland during this period have tended to depict it as a new phenomenon and even as one imported by asylum seekers. Ireland was never immune from the racist ideologies that governed relationships between the west and the rest despite a history of colonial anti-Irish racism. Citizenship reproduced inequalities between nationals on the basis of gender and race and ethnicity. The book explores how the processes of nation-building which shaped contemporary Irish society and the Irish state were accompanied by a politics of national identity within which claims of social membership of various minority groups were discounted. It examines the exclusionary and assimilationist consequences of Irish nationbuilding for Protestant, Jewish and Traveller minority communities. The book also considers anti-Semitism in Irish society from independence in 1922 until the 1950s. It examines how contemporary responses to refugees and asylum seekers have been shaped by a legacy of exclusionary state practices. Finally, the book talks about anti-Traveller racism, the politics of Traveller exclusion, the work of SPIARSI, and the efforts to contest racism and discrimination faced by minorities in Ireland as expressions of multiculturalism.

Bryan Fanning

3 Nation-building and exclusion Introduction This chapter examines dominant (and changing) conceptions of Irish national identity. It explores the development of exclusionary conceptions of identity homogeneity linked to nationalism and nation-building from the nineteenth century onwards with reference to the experiences of Protestant, Jewish and Traveller minority communities. Much of this chapter is concerned with the past; first, to demonstrate how, with regard to dominant understandings of ‘Irishness’, the goalposts of imagined community have moved before

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland
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Bryan Fanning

specific ideological claims about the nature and composition of societies. Nation states tend to institutionalise dominant constructions of social membership. Chapter 3 examines the exclusionary and assimilationist consequences of Irish nationbuilding for Protestant, Jewish and Traveller minority communities. The chapter argues that past and present myths of homogeneity preclude inquiry into racism within contemporary Irish society. It aims to locate contemporary responses to asylum seekers, immigrant minority communities and the Travelling people, an indigenous ethnic

in Racism and social change in the Republic of Ireland