Jailtacht

Jailtacht: The Irish Laguage, Symbolic Power and Political Violence in Northern Ireland, 1972-2008

DIARMAIT MAC GIOLLA CHRÍOST
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qhjkk
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  • Book Info
    Jailtacht
    Book Description:

    THIS BOOK TELLS THE DRAMATIC AND OFTEN SURPRISING STORY OF THE LEARNING OF THE IRISH LANGUAGE BY IRISH REPUBLICAN PRISONERS HELD IN THE INFAMOUS H-BLOCK CELLS DURING THE BLOODY POLITICAL CONFLICT IN NORTHERN IRELAND.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2497-4
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)

    This book is set in the context of the historical ethno-political conflict that occurred in Northern Ireland during the last quarter of the twentieth century, but it is not about it. Rather, it is concerned with a very particular aspect of that conflict, namely the relationship between the Irish language and the paradigm of political violence. In short, the research object at the heart of this book is the emergence of the Irish language amongst Irish republican prisoners and ex-prisoners in Northern Ireland in the period from around 1970 up until today. It would appear that the language emerged from...

  6. 2 CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. 15-44)

    The revival of the Irish language was a constitutional aim of the IRA. It was not, however, an aspiration which the organisation was to realise in the field in Northern Ireland but rather in prison, although the impact of these Irish-speaking prisoners was eventually felt far beyond the walls of their cells. In this chapter the mechanics of the acquisition of the language by Irish republican prisoners along with their linguistic behaviours and practices from 1972 is looked at. Thus, the reader is taken through the different phases in this history:

    1972–1976, Internment

    1976–1981, Protest

    1981–1998, Strategic...

  7. 3 STYLE
    (pp. 45-82)

    If style is a distinctive variety of language that is communally constituted and self-consciously used by individuals, as authors and speakers, in certain social contexts for specific purposes, then it follows that the Irish language of the Irish republican prisoners, known by some as Jailic, is a style. It has already been shown that Jailic emerged in a very particular social and physical context. As a result, it appears to be absolutely necessary to adopt a social constructionist position in seeking to demonstrate how, and explain why, Jailic emerged as a style. Coupland’s exhortation to sociolinguists, therefore, is entirely sensible:...

  8. 4 PERFORMANCE
    (pp. 83-108)

    It has often been argued that the Irish language is used by Irish republicans in a symbolic manner, that it is a representative shorthand for a set of ideological values.³ However, this is only a part of the story, and it is not the most important part. In the prison cells of the Cages and the H-Blocks, the peculiar variation of the Irish language developed by the Irish republican prisoners came to be imbued with the quality of performativity. By this I mean that their Irish was both symbolic and constitutive of action. Understanding words as actions is not new,...

  9. 5 VISUAL GRAMMAR
    (pp. 109-146)

    While the so-called ʹFree Derry Wallʹ is the earliest and one of the best known of Irish nationalist murals (Woods, 1995), it was not until the hunger strike of 1981 that Irish republicans fully engaged with their political potential (Rolston, 1991, 1992 and 1995) and their use developed during the years that followed. It was through these post–1981 murals that the Irish language became visible as a feature of Irish republican discourse. Such murals have become familiar to many people as a result of their being a part of the backdrop to international news and current affairs programmes, but...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. 6 IDEOLOGY
    (pp. 147-178)

    To understand the ideological significance of the Irish language in the conflict in NI it is not sufficient to ask political actors for their views on the issue. No doubt such questions have a value, in that they make it possible to create a description of the way in which a set of politically committed individuals look upon the language matter.² However, the explanatory capacity of such studies is severely limited by their approach. There is a simple reason for this. Without exception, the authors of ideological perspectives are very determined to present their positions as based on rational principles...

  12. 7 CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 179-184)

    Our lives in ʹthe Westʹ have recently been jarringly punctuated by a series of unanticipated, dramatic and traumatic events of extreme political violence, viz. the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC in 2001, the Estación de Atocha in Madrid in 2004 and the Underground in London in 2005. Our response has largely been one of incomprehension and fear. Incomprehension that someone would choose to engineer such horrific events and fear that such deadly horror was not foreseen and cannot be forestalled. The limited nature of our response is cloaked by a pseudo-scientific...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 185-208)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 209-230)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 231-234)