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Othering Masculinity in the Multicultural Irish Thriller

  • Zélie Asava
Chapter

Abstract

This essay explores issues of race and gender in a number of Irish thrillers produced between 2004 and 2009. The films under discussion centralize the position of men in a New Ireland, at a time when categories of Irishness and masculinity became manifest in varying formulations. While these films explore Irish manhood as a contested category during the economic boom, questions of national and personal identity had come under serious scrutiny since the emergence in the late 1990s of not only a significant immigrant culture in Ireland, but also new understandings of what it meant to be Irish.1 During this period of what has come to be referred to as post-feminism, ideas of gender moved away from traditional concepts towards a more cosmopolitan, metrosexual, fluctuating state, as hegemonic structures shifted.2 This chapter examines constructions of Irish masculinity in three films which assert its diversity, non-fixity and instability: Ciarán O’Connor’s Trafficked (2009, first released as Capital Letters in 2004), Brendan Muldowney’s Savage (2009) and Neil Jordan’s Ondine (2009).

Keywords

Medium Violence Irish Manhood Foreign Woman Irish Masculinity Celtic Tiger 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See also John Brannigan, Race in Modern Irish Literature and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bryan Fanning, New Guests of the Irish Nation (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2009);Google Scholar
  3. Ronit Lentin, ‘Black Bodies and Headless Hookers: alternative global narratives for twenty-first century Ireland’, Irish Review, 33 (2005), 1–12;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. H. Edwards, S. T. O’Brien and J. Ulin (eds), Race and Immigration in the New Ireland (Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 2009);Google Scholar
  5. Gavan Titley and Alana Lentin, The Crises of Multiculturalism (London: Zed Books, 2011);Google Scholar
  6. Steve Garner, Racism in the Irish Experience (London: Pluto Press, 2003);Google Scholar
  7. Gerardine Meaney, Gender, Ireland and Cultural Change: Race, Sex and Nation (London: Routledge, 2010);Google Scholar
  8. Diane Negra (ed.), The Irish in Us: Irishness, Performativity and Popular Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006);Google Scholar
  9. Patrick Freyne, ‘Looking different. Feeling Irish’, Weekend Review, Irish Times, 24 November 2012, 1–2.Google Scholar
  10. 2.
    See Hanna Rosin, The End of Men and the Rise of Women (London: Viking, 2012).Google Scholar
  11. 5.
    Jasper Rees, ‘Call of the Siren’, Culture, Sunday Times, 9 November 2011, 8–9.Google Scholar
  12. 6.
    Richard Dyer, White (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), 2.Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    See Ruth Barton, Irish National Cinema (New York, London: Routledge, 2004);Google Scholar
  14. Martin McLoone, Irish Film: the Emergence of a Contemporary Cinema (London: BFI, 2000);Google Scholar
  15. J Meaney, Gender, Ireland and Cultural Change: Race, Sex and Nation (London: Routledge, 2010).Google Scholar
  16. 11.
    See also Barton’s review of Savage in Tony Tracy (ed.) ‘Irish Film and Television 2010: the Year in Review’, Estudios Irlandeses (2011), 196–8.Google Scholar
  17. 12.
    See C. Kay Weaver and Cynthia Carter (eds), Critical Readings: Violence and the Media (Maidenhead and New York: Open University Press, 2006);Google Scholar
  18. David Trend, The Myth of Media Violence (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007);Google Scholar
  19. Martin Barker and Julian Petley (eds), Ill Effects: the Media Violence Debate (London: Routledge, 1997).Google Scholar
  20. 13.
    See: Richard Haslam, ‘A race bashed in the face: imagining Ireland as a damaged child’, Jouvert: a Journal of Postcolonial Studies 4 (1) (1999);Google Scholar
  21. McLoone, Irish Film: the Emergence of a Contemporary Cinema; Kevin and Emer Rockett, Neil Jordan: Exploring Boundaries (Dublin: Liffey Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  22. 14.
    John Hill, Cinema and Northern Ireland: Film, Culture and Politics (London: BFI, 2006).Google Scholar

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© Zélie Asava 2014

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  • Zélie Asava

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