The negotiation of an Irish identity in New York 2008 to 2019

  • Elaine Ni Bhraonain

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In this thesis: I will show that the identities in twenty-first century Irish New York are composed of layers; debate the complexities and dynamics between them, including tensions, overlaps and contrasts that became evident during research. I will show examples of how Irish identity is negotiated, settled upon and exhibited in the various sub-groupings of New York. A particular focus will be on examining the markers which determine affiliation and non-affiliation with specific organisations in Irish America.

I will illuminate the boundary markers that characterise the different Irish identities and the events and symbols that separate them and glue them together. The mechanisms by which individuals settle on a particular Irish identity in New York will be analysed through the lens of the organisations that they join and the events that they attend.

My central argument addresses the limits, borders and constraints surrounding Irish identity in New York, how negotiations of identity are managed, whether it remains stable through a person’s life, what the different forms of Irishness are, and how particular dominant forms of Irishness are made visible while others remain covert and dormant. I will also examine motives behind association with and disassociation from Irishness, the fluidity surrounding these connections and what the drivers behind Irishness are.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDominic Bryan (Supervisor) & Peter Gray (Supervisor)

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