Ireland in the world order: a history of uneven development – an intro

Image.ashxI’m aware that I’m really badly behind in terms of a couple of reviews and will be knuckling down to these over the next couple of weeks, even as I read new stuff.  What I’m presently reading is Maurice Coakley’s Ireland in the world order: a history of uneven development (Pluto, 2012).  I’m only a handful of pages into it, but it looks very good.  Here, for instance, is an extract from the preface:

“In November 2010, when the Irish government was negotiating with the European Union (EU) and other transnational bodies on schemes to resolve Ireland’s financial problems, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came up with a proposal that would have involved the major bondholders taking a significant ‘haircut’, in the process reducing the Irish debt to a potentially manageable level.  The European Central Bank (ECB) strongly opposed any ‘haircut’ for the bondholders, insisting that the Irish state pay all the debts incurred by the privately-owned Irish banks, even though this would most likely bankrupt Ireland.  In this dispute, the Irish government officials sided with the ECB, leading one IMF staff member to describe the Irish government negotiators as displaying elements of the ‘Stockholm syndrome’, a situation whereby hostages sometimes come to identify with their captors. . . .

“Why were Irish government officials suffering from ‘Stockholm syndrome’?  Or to put the question differently, how is it that Irish government officials had come to identify with transnational institutions that were seeking to impose severe penalties on the Irish population, rather than with their own people? . . .

“The dominant currents within Irish historical studies (have) avoided any exploration of the structural relationship between Ireland and Britain as a matter of methodological principle.  Notions of colonialism (have been) considered redundant.  Irish historians, for the most part, (have) tended to minimise the significance of the Conquest, and to interpret it as the unfortunate consequence of misunderstandings and policy mistakes.  More than that: the work of many Irish historians (has) carried a sub-text whereby British governance of Ireland (is) perceived as civilised, rational and cosmopolitan, while Irish resistance (is) seen as narrow, primitive and atavistic.  This attitude (has been) compounded by a consistent downplaying of the close association between the quest for democracy and national independence. . .”

This is a book you should probably have.  At the very least, it’s a book you should read.


Posted on February 20, 2013, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British state repression (general), Catholic church/church-state relations, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, EU, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, national, Natural resources, Partition, Political education and theory, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Ireland in the world order: a history of uneven development – an intro.

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