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Aspects of Irish Society

  • 22-12-2009 1:13am
    Registered Users Posts: 21,354 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm just wondering what people here consider the main aspects of Irish society now? Obviuously with the emergance, and subsequent death, of the Celtic Tiger, there have been many changes in Ireland lately. So what has changed in your opinion, and has it been for the better or worse?

    For me, well I'm quite a cynic of a lot of contemporary society, love reading up on stuff from the Frankfurt School. So yeah, mass culture, to me, is something that I hate. And this can be seen in Ireland a lot, so definitely feel it to be for the worse. I always see a sense of entitlement amongst people. In college(UCD), its everywhere. I find it horrible to see these people going around thinking they are owed something. I expect to hear them come out with 'don't you know who my Daddy is?' type of comments. It kinda saddens me, but I find it to be true.

    This big business, globalisation, capitalist* has made Ireland lose a part of identity I feel. I stayed for a few days in Lisdoonvarna last May, certainly away from everything I hate about contemp. society, and it was amazing. Everyone knew each other, the people were lovely and accommodating, was exactly how Ireland is portrayed really. But it certainly isn't like that in more urban areas. SO yeah, any opinions on any of this?

    *have to buy into some aspects of it unfortunately


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭Cannibal Ox

    I'll do a better/longer reply later, but...
    Mushy wrote:
    For me, well I'm quite a cynic of a lot of contemporary society, love reading up on stuff from the Frankfurt School. So yeah, mass culture, to me, is something that I hate.
    Have you read Kracauer or Benjamin? They're both Frankfurt School, and both major cultural theorists. I think you'd really like The Mass Ornament by Kracauer, you can get it here, and it's worth reading the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Benjamin, which is here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,408 ✭✭✭✭looksee

    This is an interesting question, but one which inevitably has to be answered with generalities. Whether society has improved or disimproved is subjective, and a very good argument could be put from either side.
    My argument is that it has improved. I will try and explain the basis of my viewpoint.
    I have lived in Ireland for almost 40 years and came from a background of one of the poorer parts of the UK and then a number of years in third world countries. In the early 70's Ireland came as a bit of a shock, even by comparison with third world countries. I was used to the idea that it was neither courteous nor politic to express opinions - good or bad - about your host country, especially in the accent of a country that had only recently - a matter of less than five years in one case - been removed from power.
    However I found in Ireland it was not necessary to express opinions. A simple greeting in some cases revealed the willingness of people - strangers in shops, social contacts, (but now I think of it, always men) to direct their inherited bitterness to an individual with an English accent. When I was perceived to be a tourist there was a superficial courtesy, once I was identified as a resident then the need to put me in my place came to the fore.
    So many times in social situations, mostly with reference to the Troubles, I was told 'you have to understand the history' and either the Famine or the plantation of the North, or both, would be yet again explained to me, with the assumption that I was naturally on the Unionist 'side'.
    I was not on any 'side', I knew nothing of the Unionist community - further I was a young, apolitical woman, busy with the care of my young family.
    I had never seen this level of involvement with the past. In the other countries where I had lived there was an entirely understandable celebration of independence, but in spite of the fact that I lived among, and worked with and for people who had very recently themselves been freedom fighters, there was never the sense of them holding me personally responsible for the ills of the country.
    So this is a single area in which, for me anyway, things have improved. The anti-Brit attitude can still be found, but it is largely now from the minority of people who feel free to abuse anyone of a different culture. As Irish society becomes more open and cosmopolitan it becomes easier to live here.
    I could reflect on the considerable influence that the Catholic Church has had on my life; on the difference in quality of infrastructure in the country; on the fight for acceptance and equality of so many sections of Irish society - women, children, gays, disabled people. The number and degree of changes in the past thirty years or so is staggering and the Ireland of today is a much healthier place in every sense of the word.
    The very fact that I have put these thoughts into the public arena is a reflection of my confidence in the tolerence and open-mindedness of Irish society now.
    I wrote this over an hour ago, and it has taken this long for me to decide to press the 'reply' button :)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,878 ✭✭✭Rozabeez

    Hiberno-English! The way in which the Irish speak English and how accents and pronunciation are symbolic of "identity". ¬_¬ Ok, back to the essay... *scurries off*

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭Cannibal Ox

    Much later.

    A few things about the growth period. While in absolute terms, people at all levels of income were better off, there was an exaggeration of inequalities in Ireland. The ratio of pay between the highest paid and the lowest paid rose, the share of wages fell while the share in profit rose, and the relative income poverty rose from 19% of households in the '90s, to 25/26 % in 2001. Women have a presence in the legislation of about 13%. Nearly 30% of the labour force has a literacy standard that is below secondary school, while only about 7% of adults with literacy difficulties are reached. So, while more money came in, and we were certainly better off, inequalities in society were exaggerated, women still aren't represented fully within politics, and the literacy standard of the country remained awful.

    As for culture, I think that's very difficult to say one way or another. I think despite all of the money that came in the biggest change was probably within the culture of Ireland. We certainly became more 'American', more individual, more self interested, driven, and motivated by wealth. I dunno if sociologists should make a value judgement on that. I think you can come up with ways to research it, and can discuss the implications of it, but I don't know if you can just state that it's worse or better.
    Rozabeez wrote:
    The way in which the Irish speak English and how accents and pronunciation are symbolic of "identity".
    Identity! An illusion of juridical powers which produces and repress constitutions of subjectivity through a normative framework based on discursive regimes wherein the subject becomes intelligible or unintelligible...I'm not exactly sure what that means but I need to go finish my essay on it...

  • Registered Users Posts: 208 ✭✭Gary L

    There are a lot of well developed, hardened ideas of what it is to be Irish, to be a man, to be my age, whatever that be that have been suggested to me from a young age by society. I think what we all do is put on a coat of culture and get it in our heads that we're Irish because thats what we hear we are. I find it stifling if I'm honest.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,831 ✭✭✭Torakx

    This is my first time on this part of the forums.
    Im not up on sociology but i love psychology and think they must be related in many ways.

    I have lived in quite a few places in my 29 years in order: ennis,Shannon,Cork,waterford,dundalk,Dublin,Derry,Spain and now Dublin again.

    I can definetly relate to a previous posters story about the english accent and attitudes taken based on it.
    Every place i lived i had come from another place with a different accent and i was always new.
    In derry i nearly got into fights because i was seemed to have a dublin accent(well i was always very streetwise but it would have been so no doubts) i also made catholic friends extremely easy because i seemed to have a dublin accent.
    In dublin i didnt make friends so easy cause i had a northy accent or at least it didnt much affect me only that i was "different" not a local.

    So from that experience i think peoples response to others is greatly effected by the area they live and its social nuances.But as long as they keep the status quo it feels safer for them.
    I think us irish are losing our identity and it isnt by accident.

    I can without doubt point a finger at the TV set and know ive pinned the source of the problem.That is purely a tool for social engineering imo.
    The news is biased the shows recently are more and more full of useless content and imaginary gossip.
    People without goals will fall trap to it and live there lives according to the social rules of Tv programming.I wish we could destroy all televisions and set the world free.
    I find the internet much much better.It may have alot of rubbish on it but i garuntee you not as much as Tv and at least people can choose there brain washing instead of being shown how to think..or not as the case might be.
    Me personally have noticed radical changes in people around my age and younger.Alot of women are now saying they are bi-sexual just for an easy example.It is my opinion this is because it is popularized to such a large extent that women feel they must keep the status quo or lose social respect especially with guys.
    I may be wrong on that one and the figures could be the same over the years and i just didnt see earlier..please tell me if i am way off.

    Im actually saddened by the state this country is in and its deterioration.
    I walked past a young boy/girl (about 12-14)on capel street who appeared to be homeless with a blanket around them huddled up.
    And as i walked past i wondered am i really seeing this?Or is there some parent waiting in a flat closeby to collect the money?
    I really wanted to know but also felt unable to approach that poor soul because of the social stigma involved with a single rough looking man approaching a homless possibly young girl and trying to help them out.Plus i was afraid id be taken advantage of because i didnt really think its possible that child could be homeless and everyone walk past.
    Its a good example of how society works.Everyone is afraid for the most part to step out of line or look different even if there is someone dying on the street or maybe they simply dont care.

    If that was in a small town where not many homeless people were i might imagine they would get more sympathy.
    Desensitization from societies lack of action as a whole(governments fault? no action?) and also from television imo is killing what humanity we have left let alone our irish spirit which probably went down the drain with our constitution after the Lisbon treaty.

    /rant over

    Sorry was supposed to be a short first time post! haha
    i hope i give some food for thought anyway.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭recedite

    Street beggars have always been with us, probably always will be.
    But I would say you no longer have to be white, catholic, and hate the English in order to be Irish. People are also more confident and entrepreneurial than the previous few generations, which is great.:)