Popular Print and Popular Culture

  • Niall Ó Ciosáin
Part of the Early Modern History: Society and Culture book series


Most studies of literacy and print culture in the historiography of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland approach them from the point of view of economic or political history. For economic history, literacy has a double significance. On the one hand, it acts as a measure of relative wealth, as an indication that people have money to invest in education and that there are returns on such an investment. On the other hand, a certain level of literacy is posited as a prerequisite for development, since it permits greater participation in a market economy as well as the diffusion of innovations. For political history, mass literacy is seen as indispensable for large-scale mobilisation which, in the form of nationalist movements, is seen to be the most important development of the period. It does this both structurally, by making possible the coordination of agents over a wide area, and ideologically, by creating an awareness of a community of interest among separate groups.


Popular Culture Early Nineteenth Century Elite Culture Folk Religion Collective Reading 
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Copyright information

© Niall Ó Ciosáin 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niall Ó Ciosáin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity CollegeGalwayIreland

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