National identity in a foreign context: Irish women accounting for their children's national identity in England

Ni Maolalaidh, Méabh and Stevenson, Clifford (2014) National identity in a foreign context: Irish women accounting for their children's national identity in England. Discourse & Society, 25 (2). pp. 245-262. ISSN 1460-3624

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Social psychologists have attempted to capture the ideological quality of the nation through a consideration of its taken-for-granted quality whereby it forms an unnoticed ‘banal’ background to everyday life and is passively absorbed by its members in contrast to its ‘hot’, politically created and contested nature. Accordingly national identity is assumed to be both passively absorbed from the national backdrop and actively acquired through national inculcation. This raises the question of how national identity is expressed, transmitted and acquired in a foreign context, where the banal national backdrop is unavailable to scaffold identity and the national resources for identity transmission may be unavailable. The present paper addresses this gap by examining the situation of Irish women raising children in England. Critical discursive analyses of the 16 interviews revealed that all women treated their children’s national identity and the issue of transmitting identity as dilemmatic: passive transmission risks children passively absorbing English, but active transmission contravenes the assumed naturalness of national identity and can furthermore conflict with children’s own personal choice. These results point to the complex interaction between the management of national identity and the broader personal and national context within which this occurs.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Children, discourse, foreign context, identity, ideological dilemma, Irish, national identity, transmission, women
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Clifford Stevenson
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2016 09:46
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2022 14:47

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