The tyranny of transnational discourse: 'authenticity' and Irish diasporic identity in Ireland and England

2017-06-15T15:36:43Z (GMT) by Marc Scully
Through the prism of current state discourses in Ireland on engagement with the Irish diaspora, this article examines the empirical merit of the related concepts of 'diaspora' and 'transnationalism'. Drawing on recent research on how Irish identity is articulated and negotiated by Irish people in England, this study suggests a worked distinction between the concepts of 'diaspora' and 'transnationalism'. Two separate discourses of authenticity are compared and contrasted: they rest on a conceptualisation of Irish identity as transnational and diasporic, respectively. I argue that knowledge of contemporary Ireland is constructed as sufficiently important that claims on diasporic Irishness are constrained by the discourse of authentic Irishness as transnational. I discuss how this affects the identity claims of second-generation Irish people, the relationship between conceptualisations of Irishness as diasporic within Ireland and 'lived' diasporic Irish identities, and implications for state discourses of diaspora engagement.