The Global and the Local : Mapping Changes in Irish Childhood

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Title: The Global and the Local : Mapping Changes in Irish Childhood
Authors: Inglis, Tom
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Date: Dec-2011
Abstract: The global image of Ireland has changed. It has moved from De Valera’s dream of a nation of romping, sturdy children, athletic youths and comely maidens, to one in which innocent boys and girls were incarcerated in industrial and reformatory schools where they were demeaned, abused, and brutalized. And yet the Irish seemed deeply committed to children, at least to having them. Throughout most of the twentieth century Irish fertility was higher than that in most other Western societies. It would appear that successive generations of women who married wanted to have large families. For many people, growing up with numerous brothers and sisters was central to childhood. Now fertility is more controlled, families are smaller, and more mothers are working. Given this change in demographics, Luddy and Smith (2009, 6) ask some simple questions: “What if anything is new about how childhood is currently understood in Ireland? How has the understanding of Irish childhood changed over time? And how do earlier conceptions of Irish childhood feed into and/or inform more recent conceptualizations?” One of the main changes is that married women no longer see themselves simply or primarily as mothers, and that the reduction in family size, together with an increase in economic prosperity, has led to changes in the way that children are seen, understood, and treated, which in turn has led to a new sense of self among Irish children.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Irish-American Cultural Institute
Journal: Eire-Ireland
Volume: 46
Issue: 3&4
Start page: 63
End page: 83
Keywords: ChildrenGlobal cultureIrish childhoodIrish society
DOI: 10.1353/eir.2011.0013
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Sociology Research Collection

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