The concept of 'margins' denotes geographical, economic, demographic, cultural and political positioning in relation to a perceived centre. This book aims to question the term 'marginal' itself, to hear the voices talking 'across' borders and not only to or through an English centre. The first part of the book examines debates on the political and poetic choice of language, drawing attention to significant differences between the Irish and Scottish strategies. It includes a discussion of the complicated dynamic of woman and nation by Aileen Christianson, which explores the work of twentieth-century Scottish and Irish women writers. The book also explores masculinities in both English and Scottish writing from Berthold Schoene, which deploys sexual difference as a means of testing postcolonial theorizing. A different perspective on the notion of marginality is offered by addressing 'Englishness' in relation to 'migrant' writing in prose concerned with India and England after Independence. The second part of the book focuses on a wide range of new poetry to question simplified margin/centre relations. It discusses a historicising perspective on the work of cultural studies and its responses to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generation Irish musicians from Sean Campbell. The comparison of contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction which identifies similarities and differences in recent developments is also considered. In each instance the writers take on the task of examining and assessing points of connection and diversity across a particular body of work, while moving away from contrasts which focus on an English 'norm'.
question simplified margin/centre relations; a
historicising perspective on the work of cultural studies and its responses
to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generationIrishmusicians from Sean Campbell; and our own comparison of contemporary
Irish and Scottish fiction which identifies similarities and differences in
recent developments. In each instance the writers take on the task of
examining and assessing points of connection and diversity across a
particular body of work, while moving away from contrasts which focus
on an English ‘norm’. A recurring
Ethnicity and popular music in British cultural studies
practitioners has tended to foreground questions of race and ethnicity, it
has been almost axiomatic in cultural studies simply to overlook the
particular immigrant background of the second-generation Irish, who
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have instead been subsumed in an all-encompassing, and largely undefined,
‘white ethnicity’. Moreover, in a great deal of work on questions of race,
ethnicity and popular music, second-generationIrishmusicians have
been recruited for a putative Anglo-Saxon ‘centre’ against which the
‘Irish blood, English heart’:
Ambivalence, unease and The Smiths
The dominant forms of popular music in most contemporary societies have
emerged, notes Simon Frith, ‘at the social margins – among the poor, the
migrant, the rootless’.1 This has certainly been the case in Britain, where, as
one high-profile music magazine put it, ‘a potent shebeen of home-grown
music’ has been ensured only by ‘a multi-ethnic mix’ in which ‘the immigrant
Irish have proved most crucial’.2 The vital role played by second-generationIrishmusicians in
Childhood visits to Ireland by the second generation in England
London: Allen Lane.
Campbell, S. (2011) Irish Blood, English Heart: SecondGenerationIrishMusicians in England. Cork: Cork University Press.
Casey, M. (1987) Over the Water. London: The Women’s Press.
Central Statistics Office (1992–2009) Statistical Product – Population
Estimates. Available online at www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestart/database/
Accessed 25 July 2011.
Coyle, J. (2009) ‘Theatre Review: The Beauty Queen of Leenane’. Available online