Diane Negra


Gendering the Recession in Ireland: Unemployment, Migration and the Post-Celtic Tiger Era

The global financial crisis has heightened a range of inequalities, not least inequalities of gender, class, and opportunity. In this presentation, I examine the gendering of recession in the Irish context, where an unprecedented period of growth has given way to a vertiginous experience of economic contraction.  In Ireland’s transformation from a seeming capitalist utopia to something different, cultural conceptions of masculinity and femininity play a key role.  Popular texts, including advertisements and viral videos, speak to a fundamental imperative to stabilize masculinity and forward a narrative of restoration that includes the reinstatement of “correctly” gendered roles and national “authenticity.”  A fantasy of male mobility is sustained across a range of forms emerging as one of the key tropes of recessionary Irish media.  This commitment to male mobility as a form of enterprise in turn structures national discourse on youth unemployment and mobility in an era marked by a return to net emigration. Most recently, the Irish government has sought to incentivize tourism under the auspices of a marketing campaign called “The Gathering.” This plan emerges from a government that only 10 years ago (flush with the spirit of “Celtic Tigerism”) sought to police the boundaries of Irishness through legislation that narrowed previously expansive definitions of national citizenship just as immigration was surging.  Thus, dynamics of labor, tourism, and travel in Ireland are increasingly marked by a paradox in which strenuous efforts are being made to entice visitors in, even as the nation returns to sending its own citizens out.

Part of Sticky Floors: Gender and Unemployment



Diane Negra (University College-Dublin)

Diane Negra is professor of film studies and screen culture, as well as head of film studies at University College Dublin. She is the author, editor or co-editor of eight books, the most recent of which is Gendering the Recession: Media and Culture in an Age of Austerity (edited with Yvonne Tasker), which will be published by Duke University Press in March 2014.

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