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    Vexatious Bodies in Modern Ireland

    Quinn, Deirdre (2012) Vexatious Bodies in Modern Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This dissertation examines discourses of the body in modern Ireland. It explores the development of official structures shaping the body, the habitus and ethos and the problematic disruptions of the body in nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland. Official structures provided the scaffolding around which ideals of Irishness wrapped themselves. In locating the official body within these ideals, this thesis argues that problematic or “vexatious” bodies irritated dominant structures at the point where formative expectations of conservative Catholic morality, middle class respectability and the state meet. In a cycle of containment, these formations excluded the vexatious from recognition within dominant structures. While periodic outbursts of the vexatious pressurised official structures, the hegemonic expansion and contraction of official discourses returned it to a space beyond the parameters of dominant discourses, illustrated through examples involving infanticide and the tubercular body. The structural capacity to maintain dominance was dependent for its continuation on partial modernisation. Changes in the second half of the twentieth century contributed to the destabilisation of the dominant attitudes and structures. The thesis examines these changes and the impact of outbursts of the vexatious in the 1980s through a theoretical lens drawing on the theories of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. The thesis also analyses print media, focussing on national broadsheets, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and The Irish Press and magazines, Hot press, In Dublin, The Phoenix and Magill and television drama, The Spike (1978), along with influential current affairs programs Today Tonight (1985/1987) and The Late Late Show (1987), providing a context for the examination of the emergence of the AIDS body as one that forced Irish society to confront what it had excluded and acted as a catalyst for accelerated medicalisation and in turn modernisation. Ultimately, AIDS forced Irish society to turn and look

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Vexatious Bodies; Modern Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies
    Item ID: 4747
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2014 12:27

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