1st Edition

Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Ireland

Edited By Clara Fischer, Áine Mahon Copyright 2020
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is the first book to bring a philosophical lens to issues of socio-political and cultural importance in twenty-first century Ireland. While the social, political, and economic landscape of contemporary Ireland has inspired extensive scholarly debate both within and well beyond the field of Irish Studies, there is a distinct lack of philosophical voices in these discussions. The aim of this volume is to enrich the fields of Philosophy and Irish Studies by encouraging a manifestly philosophical exploration of contemporary issues and concerns.

    The essays in this volume collectively address diverse philosophical questions on contemporary Ireland by exploring a variety of themes, including: diaspora, exile, return; women’s bodies and autonomy; historic injustices and national healing; remembering and commemoration; institutionalization and containment; colonialism and Ireland as "home"; conflict and violence; Northern Ireland and the peace process; nationalism, patriotism, and masculinities; ethnicity, immigration, and identity; and translation, art and culture.

    Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Ireland marks a significant contribution to contemporary theorizations of Ireland by incorporating both Irish and transatlantic perspectives. It will appeal to a broad audience of scholars and advanced students working in philosophy, Irish Studies, feminist theory, history, legal studies, and literary theory. Beyond academia, it will also engage those interested in contemporary Ireland from policy and civil society perspectives.


    1. Crossing Ireland’s Boundaries, Real and Imagined

    Áine Mahon and Clara Fischer

    Part I: Memory, Trauma, and Recovery

    2. The Risk of Hospitality: Exchanging Stories Changing History

    Richard Kearney

    3. ‘In the frail way that people assemble themselves’: Feeling Shame about Tuam

    Kathleen Lennon

    Part II: Citizenship, Injustice, and the Law

    4. ‘Take me to Church’: Sexual Citizenship and Spatial Justice in Ireland

    Aideen Quilty

    5. State Shame, Sovereignty, and Legal Responses to Historical Institutional Abuse

    Sinéad Ring and Máiréad Enright

    6. Ireland After the Celtic Tiger: A Study in Social Injustice

    Vittorio Bufacchi

    Part III: Nation-Building and Post/Coloniality: Ireland North and South

    7. Civil Society and Nonviolent Political Action in Northern Ireland

    Iain Atack and Dong Jim Kim

    8. Is Irish Reunification Republican?

    Adam Fusco

    9. Irish Republican Masculinities: The Politics of Humiliation

    Dianna Taylor

    Part IV: Irish Cultural Imaginaries: Dislocation, Diaspora, and Home

    10. Coast-Modernism, Wittgenstein, Primitivism, and the West of Ireland

    Luke Gibbons

    11. Exile, Dislocation, and Home Spaces: Irish Narratives

    Danielle Petherbridge

    Part V: Language, Identity, and Erasure

    12. Racisms, Identity, and Anti-Racist Learner-Citizenship

    Karl Kitching

    13. Who’s Afraid of the Irish Language? The National-Philosophical Possibilities of a Lost Tongue

    Lisa Foran


    Clara Fischer is an EU Marie-Sklodowska Fellow at the Centre for Gender, Feminisms, and Sexualities and Co-director of the Dewey Studies Research Centre at University College Dublin. She is the author of Gendered Readings of Change: A Feminist-Pragmatist Approach (2014), and co-editor of Irish Feminisms: Past, Present and Future (2015) and of New Feminist Perspectives on Embodiment (2018). She has also recently edited a special issue of Hypatia on ‘Gender and the Politics of Shame’ (2018).

    Áine Mahon is Assistant Professor in the School of Education at University College Dublin. Her primary research areas are Philosophy of Education and Philosophy of Literature. Áine’s first monograph, The Ironist and the Romantic: Reading Richard Rorty and Stanley Cavell, was published in 2014. With Andrew Taylor of the University of Edinburgh, she has also co-edited Stanley Cavell, Literature and Film: The Idea of America (Routledge, 2013).

    "The stated intent of this collection of essays is ambitious: addressing the dearth of philosophical contributions to the field of Irish studies, which the editors see as dominated by literary and historical scholarship . . . The editors offer the hope of continual engagement with the experiences of previously ignored groups through the discussion of such contemporary issues as traumatic memory, postcolonial nation building, citizenship, and diasporic dislocation . . . [The chapters] go beyond the application of philosophical concepts to Irish subjects, providing the sort of conceptual tools that allow scholars from all fields to realize the integrative potential of a truly interdisciplinary Irish studies. Summing up: Recommended."


    "This book responds to a pressing need for engaged philosophical discussion of fundamental issues in contemporary Irish society. The contributors to this volume bring a wide range of philosophical approaches and exacting conceptual rigour to bear on issues such as memory and trauma, institutional abuse and the politics of shame, injustice and violence against women, exile and language loss, national aspirations and republican ideals. This is a long overdue and intellectually exciting book."

    Felix Ó Murchadha, National University of Ireland, Galway