Language, ideology and power in contemporary Ireland
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This Dissertation aims to explore Gaelic identity and its relationship with the Irish language in contemporary Ireland. It consists of (1) a theoretical research of ethnic reality, (2) an historical research of ethnic identification, and a (3) description and statistical analysis of a survey. The theoretical research explores ethnic reality and its social and psychological foundations. The concept of ‘identity’, and the interacting concepts of ‘culture’, ‘ideology’ and ‘power’ are discussed. The historical research attempts to uncover layers of ethnic identification from the present into the High Medieval period. This chapter concludes that Gaelic identity was until recently the main feature of ethnic identification among native Irish-speakers in Ireland. The fieldwork consisted of a survey in a Category A Gaeltacht region and in a Galltacht region. A total of 326 interviews were conducted as part of this research. The survey provides statistical evidence that Gaelic identity is still accepted as secondary identity among Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht and it is a much less accepted identity among English-speakers in the Galltacht. The research concludes that Gaelic identification in the Gaeltacht is not a politically organising force and those who identify themselves as Gaels lack collective representation.