The Irish Language and Marxist Materialism

Ó Luain, Kerron
Date Written:  2019-06-12
Publisher:  CounterPunch
Year Published:  2019
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23668

A review of Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin's book "Language From Below: the Irish language, ideology and power in 20th century Ireland" which looks at the role language and nationalism has played in Irish liberation movements.



"Language From Below: the Irish language, ideology and power in 20th century Ireland" examines the relationship between material forces and the ideology surrounding the Irish language during the past century or more.

Little treatment has been given to this subject, especially in book length. Hence, the reasons for the varying attitudes that exist towards the Irish language – some of them positive, others hostile, many apathetic – are not well understood. Often, in the face of opposition, instead of turning to class or economics as explanatory factors, proponents of the language frame hostility to An Ghaeilge in simplistic “anti-Irish” terms....

The author is always aware, however, of how resistance to colonialism in the form of nationalism could be manipulated by the ruling class. Thus, the advent of a cultural nationalism and its attendant “class conciliatory ideology” in Ireland with the arrival of Thomas Davis and the Young Irelanders, writing in The Nation during the 1840s, is viewed as the starting point for this opportunity for social control by later nationalist leaders.
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