Notions of diaspora are central to contemporary debates about 'race', ethnicity, identity and nationalism. Yet the Irish diaspora, one of the oldest and largest, is often excluded on the grounds of 'whiteness'. Outsiders Inside explores the themes of displacement and the meanings of home for these women and their descendants. Juxtaposing the visibility of Irish women in the United States with their marginalization in Britain, Bronwen Walter challenges linear notions of migration and assimilation by demonstrating that two forms of identification can be held simultaneously. In an age when the Northern Ireland peace process is rapidly changing global perceptions of Irishness, Outsiders Inside moves the empirical study of the Irish diaspora out of the 'ghetto' of Irish Studies and into the mainstream, challenging theorists and policy-makers to pay attention to the issue of white diversity.
Bronwen Walter is Senior Lecturer in Social Geography at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge. She is a leading researcher of the Irish in Britain.