Call for Papers: ETUDES IRLANDAISES
French Journal of Irish Studies
Autumn 2015 issue
Crisis? What Crisis?
Guest edited by Martine Pelletier & Valérie Peyronel
The peer-reviewed journal Etudes Irlandaises is inviting contributions for its Autumn 2015 issue entitled “Crisis? What Crisis?”
From the mid-1990s to 2007, the Republic of Ireland benefited from a remarkable but ephemeral prosperity. Characterised by a very low unemployment rate but an astonishing appetite for consumption, Ireland was the best pupil of Europe and the Celtic Tiger triumphed fortified by its 2.0 economy, massive foreign direct investment and a booming financial sector which brought Le Monde to call Ireland a European “American dream”. However, the real estate boom was going to strike a fatal blow. As a result of the international crisis, the Irish miracle has collapsed; unemployment and emigration have struck again, weighing heavily on a population which has been confronted to a stringent austerity policy. The banking system has been partly nationalised and restructured to avoid bankruptcy, but at what cost?
With the benefit of hindsight, one may wonder why Ireland was so fiercely hit by this crisis and ponder over the exact meaning of the term. What crisis are we talking about? Indeed, the reality of a generalised economic crisis cannot be denied, but in Ireland the crisis has raised a large number of political and social questions too. Fintan O’Toole, in particular, has launched a massive campaign in favour of overhauling the Republic, presenting an uncompromising analysis of the limits of the current political class and suggesting another crisis: the crisis of a political culture unable to deal with the current issues at stake – Ship of Fools, Enough is enough. The system of values which underlies the Irish society has also undergone a radical transformation in recent years, particularly noticeable in the loss of authority of the Catholic Church illustrated by accelerated secularisation and the consequences of the Murphy, Ryan and Cloyne reports. As a consequence, the crisis may also be understood to have a moral/ethical dimension worth exploring.
Is it possible to say that the crisis is nearly over? What transformations is Ireland about to complete or to be affected by? What about the constantly deepening gap between the Dublin area and the other parts of the country? Or the calls for a reform of the Republic, an in-depth change in the very institutions of the country and in its political culture, a groundswell partly illustrated by the election of Michael D. Higgins?
The placement of Ireland under the supervision of the troïka (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) for three years from 2010 to 2013 also generated a deep crisis of confidence in a country where independence and national sovereignty are still hot issues less than a century after the independence war and hardly 60 years after the official proclamation of the Republic of Ireland.
During its short period of prosperity, Ireland had become a land of immigration, notably for citizens from the East European countries once they had become members of the European Union. In 2007, 10% of Irish residents were born abroad. What has been the fate of these people in this long-term crisis context? Have they remained in Ireland or have they left to seize new economic opportunities? Emigration has always been one of Ireland’s traditional responses to unemployment and economic contraction. Consequently it is not at all surprising to witness the massive exile of young Irish people once more, as well as the revival of so-called “wakes”, Australian more often than American these days. Are these massive departures, boosted by the economic crisis, likely to foster another type of crisis resulting from the brain and talent drain this emigration implies?
The cultural institutions have also been affected by the backlash of the crisis, struggling with shrinking public subsidies. The consequences of this reduction in means in terms of production, cultural policies and influence are also worth analysing. On a more individual level, to what extent have artists reacted or failed to react to the crisis? In what ways have specific aesthetic forms emerged or been explored to facilitate a critical direct or indirect interpretation of these radical changes? The way Claire Kilroy re-invents the gothic novel in The Devil I Know, the success of The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan, or less direct interventions which reflect the anxieties, the doubts and the new preoccupations of the country, may be examples of such changes.
While some economic commentators and politicians may claim that “the Celtic Tiger is back”, praising a rigorous management model, it is pertinent to put this “crisis” and its interpretations in perspective. Papers can question the very concept of “crisis”; or address one of the following issues : the specificities or, on the contrary, the similarities between the current Irish crisis and other crises; the way the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have managed the crisis or been damaged by it; the consequences of this crisis in Ireland but also on its reputation and on its image abroad (in Europe, in the United States, in the numerous countries which used to endeavour to imitate the Celtic Tiger development model). Comparative studies will also be welcome (the comparisons between Ireland and Greece or Ireland and Spain may be particularly enlightening). Contributions can also analyse the impact of the crisis on individual artists, on cultural institutions, on the relationship to the diaspora (“The Gathering”).
Articles of 36000 signs (including spaces and notes) following the style sheet (http://www.pur-editions.fr/pdf/consignes_etudes_irlandaises.pdf) should be sent to both Martine Pelletier (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Valérie Peyronnel (email@example.com) before January 26th 2015.
Etudes irlandaises is a peer-reviewed journal publishing articles in English and French which explore all aspects of Irish literature, history, culture and arts from ancient times to the present. Etudes irlandaises publishes twice a year on a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects including: poetry, fiction, drama, film, music, politics, economy, social studies, etc. General issues published in Spring alternate with special issues in Autumn. Etudes irlandaises is aimed at scholars, postgraduate students, institutions specializing in Irish studies as well as people who have an informed interest in the subject. Each number has a comprehensive section devoted to recently published material on Ireland.