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‘Nothing to write home about’: Troubling concepts of home, racialization and self in theories of Irish male (e)migration

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairtin Mac an Ghaill, Dr Chris Haywood


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This article critically engages with the concepts of home, nationality and belonging by evaluating explanations of (e)migration of mid-20th century Irish working class men. We do this by suggesting that contemporary approaches to Irish (e)migration employ ‘containing’ categories that frame the possibilities of knowing and understanding. We problematize such approaches by examining notions of home/homelessness and the ambivalent racialization of the diasporian Irish male subject within the dynamic intersection of categories of ‘self’ identification. Within an Irish context, this article recognizes that representations of generations of emigrants have been subsumed under hegemonic images of post-Famine emigration with their overarching motif of exile. Within a British context this analysis is located within a broader epistemological frame of the cultural production of the conceptual invisibility of Irish transnational migrants. Finally, the article concludes by suggesting that theoretical and conceptual frames are themselves involved in the regulation/control of understandings of (e)migration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mac an Ghaill M, Haywood C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cultural Sociology

Year: 2011

Volume: 5

Issue: 3

Pages: 385-402

Print publication date: 25/03/2011

ISSN (print): 1749-9755

ISSN (electronic): 1749-9763

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1749975510378196


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