Ireland Unbound: A Turn of the Century Chronicle

Ireland Unbound: A Turn of the Century Chronicle by Mary P. Corcorna, Michel Peillon

Case Studies in the Localisation of the Global, Carmen Kuhling and Kieran Keohane

“On a visit to Galway, our daughter wanted to go to McDonalds, which in fact was Supermacs, an import-substitute, ‘Irish owned family restaurant’, indistinguishable from McDonalds in every substantial respect. The confusion of McDonalds and Supermacs, even to the keen eyes of a child, epitomises a broad historical process of homogenisation of Irish culture and identity wherein the local is transformed so that it resembles the global: the localisation of the global.

Later the same day she recognised a Claddagh ring as ‘the ring Angel gave to Buffy’ [the Vampire Slayer]. The Claddagh ring, an artefact with a genealogy particular to Galway, has now become a floating signifier of traditional local culture, appropriated by the global culture industry to give connotations of anchorage in community and a sense of historical continuity to brooding, transcendentally homeless Los Angeleans (for LA is the setting of the Buffy spin-off Angel). Irish social structures, institutions, culture and identity are being transformed by processes of globalisation: technologies and markets of production, distribution and consumption generated by transnational corporations; and administrative systems, governmental strategies and legal-rational principles developed by transnational institutions. At the same time, our social structures and institutions are shaped by the re-localisation of the global: local institution, communitarian norms and principles of globalisation, attuning them and making them consonant with local institutions. Irish culture and identity is characterised by the ambiguous and paradoxical ways in which the globalisation of the local and the re-localisation of the global are played out, sometimes in concert, sometimes colliding, in a social field crosscut with anatogism.”


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