Sara O'Sullivan lectures at University College Dublin
"Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map" provides a very readable, in-depth description and analysis of the transformations that have taken place in Ireland over the past ten years during the heyday of the Celtic Tiger. The book will become an important introductory textbook for undergraduate students in sociology, Irish studies and the human sciences. But it is written in such a way that will be a useful resource to students in more advanced courses as well as the general reader interested in Irish society and culture. Although the book mainly maps changes in the South, it also contains full description and analysis of recent transformations in the North. The book is written by leading sociologists from UCD and other Irish universities who are experts in their field. The authors take a critical stance about the changes that have taken place in Irish society. It is part of the tradition of 'public sociology' in which sociologists raise and reflect on current social issues and debates. Each chapter introduces the reader to the sociological theories and concepts that are relevant to the topic. The reader is then shown how these apply to Ireland and the changes that have taken place in the last decade. The chapters conclude with some suggestions about the future directions of that field in the immediate future. "Contemporary Ireland" is arranged in six sections: contours of a changing Ireland; institutions; governance; economy, development and the Celtic Tiger; class, equality and inequality; and identity, diversity and culture.
Introduction, Sara O'Sullivan
Section I Contours of a changing Ireland
1 Population, Tony Fahey
2 Immigration, Steven Loyal
3 Mobility, James Wickham
Section II Institutions, 4 Individualisation and secularisation in Catholic Ireland, Tom Inglis
5 Family, Betty Hilliard
6 Education, Patrick Clancy
7 Crime and policing in the Republic, Aogan Mulcahy
8 sport, Katie Liston
9 Media, Ciaran McCullagh
Section III Governance, 10 The peace process in Northern Ireland, Colin Coulter and Peter Shirlow
11 Power and powerlessness, Mark Haugaard and Kevin Ryan
12 The environment and civil society, Mary Kelly
Section IV Economy, development and the Celtic Tiger
13 Ireland and Economic Globalisation, Kieran Allen
14 Work, Sean O Riain and Peter Murray
15 Gender and the workforce, Sara O'Sullivan
16 Food and rural sustainable development in Ireland, Hilary Tovey
Section V Class, equality and inequality
17 Class in the Republic, Ronnie Munck
18 Class in Northern Ireland, Goretti Horgan
19 Housing, Michael Punch
Section VI Identity, diversity and culture
20 Identity, language and nationality, Iarfhlaith Watson
21 Catholic habitus and identity in Northern Ireland, Patricia Lundy and Mark McGovern
22 Protestants and Protestant habitus in Northern Ireland, Ronnie Moore
23 Race and sectarianism in Northern Ireland, Robbie McVeigh
Notes References Index.
"Contemporary Ireland ... presents the critical analysis of 26 academics in a single, comprehensive volume ... an undergraduate textbook ... [and] for the general reader it would serve as a reference book on Irish society and the remarkable changes of the past ten years."
Verbal Magazine Oct 2007
"a powerful and dynamic collection of essays by some of Ireland's pre-eminent sociologists from universities in both the Republic and Northern Ireland ... traverses disciplines and indeed academia. It will be of considerable interest to the general reader who wants to understand the facts of an often very biased approach taken by politicians, business and other interest groups and the media when it comes to reporting change immensely readable without forfeiting the rigours of sociological analysis."
Irish Book Review Vol 3 No 1 Winter 2007/8
‘Ireland had undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, especially because of the phenomenal economic growth rates popularly described by the term ‘Celtic Tiger’ in the Republic over the years 1995–2005, and the end of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland formalised by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Historians and social scientists have begun the process of evaluating the long-term impact of these and other developments on the structure of Irish society. O’Sullivan has edited a book of essays by sociologists who take a critical stance on a wide range of topics, including population, immigration, family, education, social class, crime, sports, gender, work, language, and the perennial question of Irish identity. While the emphasis is on the South, there are chapters devoted to the post-peace process North, and Ireland overall is viewed through an international lens. The essays are based on analysis of much useful statistical data culled from government reports and social science surveys as well as classical and contemporary theory. They suggest that in both a more affluent South and a more peaceful North, inequality remains a prominent feature of Irish society.
This valuable collection achieves its goal of mapping ‘the contours of a changing Ireland’.
A. M. Plunkett, Piedmont Virginia Community College