Advertisement

Dragging up the Past: Subversive Performance of Gender and Sexual Identities in Traditional and Contemporary Irish Culture

  • Jeannine Woods
Chapter
Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)

Abstract

Woods places contemporary drag performance in Ireland within the historical context of dissident, subversive elements of Irish popular culture. The chapter examines drag performance within the Irish LGBT movement as a performative practice that queers dominant and intersecting discourses on gender, sexuality and national identity while also reinflecting Bakhtin’s conception of the carnivalesque. In exploring traditional wake games, Woods highlights resonances between critical drag performance and aspects of traditional Irish popular culture. The chapter illustrates that—in their re-imagination of social, sexual and gender identities—the traditional Irish wake and contemporary drag practice constitute parallel aspects of Irish popular culture, serving as performative expressions issuing from the margins that destabilise dominant understandings of dominant social, gender and sexual subjectivities.

Works Cited

  1. Anon. “Alphabet Soup: Labels and Empowerment.” Thinking About Now (weblog), 1 February 2010. https://thinkingaboutnow.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/alphabet-soup-labels-and-empowerment/, accessed 7 November 2015.
  2. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  3. Berlant, Lauren, and Michael Warner. “Sex in Public.” Critical Inquiry 24, no. 2 (1998): 547–66.Google Scholar
  4. Binchy, Daniel A. “The Fair of Tailtiu and the Feast of Tara.” Ériu 18 (1958): 113–38.Google Scholar
  5. Bliss, Panti. “‘Noble Call’ Speech.” Abbey Theatre, 1 February 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXayhUzWnl0, accessed 5 November 2015.
  6. Bourke, Angela. “The Irish Traditional Lament and the Grieving Process.” Women’s Studies International Forum 11, no. 4 (1988): 287–91.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, Judith. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’. New York: Routledge, 1993.Google Scholar
  8. ———. “Merely Cultural.” Social Text 52–3 (1997): 265–77.Google Scholar
  9. ———. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999.Google Scholar
  10. Cohen, Cathy. “Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?.” In Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, eds. E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson, 21–51. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  11. Elkink, Johan A., et al. “Understanding the 2015 Marriage Referendum in Ireland: Context, Campaign, and Conservative Ireland.” Irish Political Studies 31, no. 3 (2016): 1–21.Google Scholar
  12. Fortier, Anne-Marie. “Re-Membering Places and the Performance of Belonging(s).” In Performativity and Belonging, ed. Vikki Bell, 41–64. London: Sage, 1999.Google Scholar
  13. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Vintage, 1977.Google Scholar
  14. Fraser, Nancy. “Pragmatism, Feminism and the Linguistic Turn.” In Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, eds. Seyla Benhabib, et al., 157–72. New York: Routledge, 1995.Google Scholar
  15. Ging, Debbie. “All-Consuming Images: New Gender Formations in Post-Celtic-Tiger Ireland.” In Transforming Ireland: Challenges, Critiques and Resources, eds. Debbie Ging, Peadar Kirby and Michael Cronin, 52–72. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  16. Horgan, Conor, Dir. The Queen of Ireland. Blinder Films, 2015.Google Scholar
  17. Lee, Marti D., and Ed Madden, eds. Irish Studies: Geographies and Genders. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2008.Google Scholar
  18. Lloyd, David. Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Postcolonial Movement. Dublin: Lilliput, 1993.Google Scholar
  19. Luibhéid, Eithne. “Nationalist Heterosexuality, Migrant (Il)legality and Irish Citizenship Law.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 110, no. 1 (2011): 179–204.Google Scholar
  20. Magennis, Caroline, and Raymond Mullen, eds. Irish Masculinities: Reflections on Literature and Culture. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  21. Murphy, Yvonne. “The Marriage Equality Referendum 2015.” Irish Political Studies 31, no. 2 (2016): 315–30.Google Scholar
  22. Neary, Aoife. “Civil Partnership and Marriage: LGBT-Q Political Pragmatism and the Normalization Imperative.” Sexualities 19, no. 7 (2016): 757–79.Google Scholar
  23. Ó Crualaoich, Gearóid. “The Merry Wake.” In Irish Popular Culture 1650–1850, eds. James S. Donnelly and Kerby A. Miller, 173–200. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  24. Ó Dónaill, Niall. Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla/Irish-English Dictionary. Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm, 1998. http://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/ait, accessed 15 November 2015.
  25. Ó Laoire, Lillis. On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers on Tory Island. Conamara: ClóIar-Chonnachta, 2005.Google Scholar
  26. Ó Súilleabháin, Seán. Irish Wake Amusements. Cork: Mercier, 1967.Google Scholar
  27. Prim, John G.A. “Olden Popular Pastimes in Kilkenny.” Transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society 2, no. 2 (1853): 319–35.Google Scholar
  28. Somerville, Siobhan. “Queer.” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies, eds. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. New York: New York University Press, 2007. http://keywords.nyupress.org/american-cultural-studies/essay/queer/, accessed 15 November 2015.
  29. Wood-Martin, William Gregory. Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland: A Folklore Sketch, a Handbook of Irish Pre-Christian Traditions. Vol. 1. London: Kennikat, 1902.Google Scholar
  30. Zhuang, Zara. “Panti Bliss, Garda Whistleblowers Named People of the Year.” The Irish Times, 8 December 2014. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/panti-bliss-garda-whistleblowers-named-people-of-the-year-1.2028917, accessed 17 November 2015.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeannine Woods
    • 1
  1. 1.National University of IrelandGalwayIreland

Personalised recommendations