Independent Ireland

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Abstract

Although many Irish nationalists at the turn of the twentieth century expected Ireland to achieve self-government within their own lifetime, few could have anticipated its form or consequences: the promised land that they envisioned was to be achieved through political means rather than insurrection and partition. But while the violence of the revolutionary decade created the political structures that shape present-day Ireland, the social and economic changes of the final decades of the twentieth century, by rupturing cultural patterns that predated independence, arguably brought about a more profound dislocation. Within Southern Ireland, the focus of this essay, the long era between these periods of upheaval was initially characterised by the pursuit of national sovereignty and self-sufficiency. In contrast, the decades after the Second World War saw the gradual abandonment of that vision in favour of a more pragmatic policy of economic liberalisation. The resulting ‘modernisation’ saw many traditional aspects of Irish society replaced by individualistic values more typical of contemporary European society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Princeton History of Modern Ireland
EditorsRichard Bourke, Ian McBride
Place of PublicationPrinceton
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Pages109-141
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)9781400874064
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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