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A sporting diaspora : Gaelic games and London's Irish community

Central to this thesis is the Irish diasporic community in London and the ways in which Irish identities manifest and are (re)negotiated in this context. Using sport and more specifically Gaelic games as a study, this thesis examines the complexity of diasporic identities and provides an original dimension to our understanding of the experience of the Irish diaspora in London. This research considers the significance of the Gaelic Athletic Association and Gaelic games for London's Irish community and the extent to which the diaspora context complicates this. The significance of the GAA in London is influenced by the dynamics of the London Irish community and the context in which it is situated. The overarching Irish community in London is a l11ultigenerational and heterogeneous collective encompassing varying interpretations of 'Irishness', contrasting experiences of living in London and different levels of engagement with the cultural forms, individuals and institutions associated with it. This study considers Irish identity as a process; a social construct continually being (re)negotiated and informed by the circumstances and diaspora context in which it is situated, and is thus is in a state of flux. There is no one uniform interpretation of 'Irishness' in London and diasporic identities are essentially reflective of the roots of individuals, their life trajectories and different modalities of self. This thesis adds new insights into the role the GAA plays in facilitating the construction of different modes of 'Irishness' in London. The thesis also explores the changing profile of the GAA as it expands to encompass a wider constituency of members and supporters from migrant Irish, the second-generation Irish population and wider society. In doing so, it provides new insights into the role that the GAA plays in the lives of members of London's Irish community and its significance as a marker of identity.
Date January 2015
CreatorsHarkin, Frances
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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