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    Introduction: performance studies and Irish culture

    Walsh, Fintan (2009) Introduction: performance studies and Irish culture. In: Walsh, Fintan and Brady, S. (eds.) Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-10. ISBN 9780230219984.

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    Book synopsis: In the expansive and expanding field of Irish studies, performance has typically featured as drama, theatre, dance, and music. Recent changes in Irish society, the arts industry, and modes of critical inquiry have all prompted the need to think further about the complex and under-researched area of performance in and of Irish culture. It is increasingly well recognized that the categories of 'Irish culture' and 'Irishness' are highly performative, effected through a wide range of social practices, cultural formations, and discursive utterances, and in timely need of critical address. The purpose of this seminal collection of essays is to broach this task by considering Irish culture through some of the paradigms and vocabularies offered by performance studies. As the title of the book makes clear, we return to the evocative metaphor of crossroads by way of signaling the manifold ways in which Irish culture has been performed in past, present, and likely futural tenses at local, national, and international domains. These roads do not respect the static symmetry indexed by a figural cross; rather the trajectories mapped here are suggestive, multiplicitous, and mobile. Practices, epistemologies, temporalities, geographies, and identities splinter in their wake, clearing the ground for the emergence of nuanced understandings of performance and cultural politics.


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