BIFFOs, jackeens and Dagenham Yanks: county identity, “authenticity” and the Irish diaspora
journal contributionposted on 17.07.2013, 10:42 by Marc Donnchadh Scully
Despite being an everyday point of reference in Irish discourse, the extent to which the county serves as a locus of identification has been oddly overlooked in the Irish studies literature. In particular, the persistence of identification with the county of origin post-migration offers new insights on the construction and maintenance of identity within the Irish diaspora. Drawing on my PhD research on discourses of authenticity and identity among the Irish in England, this article investigates the ways in which county identity is invoked both by Irish migrants and those of Irish descent. It illustrates how the county is used as a rhetorical tool to situate the speaker within discourses of belonging and authenticity, but how this may also act as a constraint on the articulation of a collective, diasporic identity. It argues for a greater research focus on translocalism within the context of changing Ireland–diaspora relations.