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elation of the “lived experience” of the recent Irish arrivals in Queens and the Bronx. The interviews which illuminate many of her findings provide vivid accounts of the rewards and difficulties they encounter. Most important, Corcoran makes her reader aware that Irish immigration to the United States is an ongoing cultural phenomenon with serious implications for both Ireland and America. —Lea Ann Flanagan Irish Urban Cultures, ed. by Chris Curtin, Hastings Donnan, and Thomas M. Wilson. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, The Queen’s University of Belfast, 1993, £5.95. At the beginning of his chapter “Dublin 16: Accounts of Suburban Lives” in this new study of Irish urban life, Hervé Varenne observes that “The only justification for anthropology, the only reason why it should be supported by non-anthropologists , lies in its struggle to construct holistic accoutns of the life of human beings in their local circumstances.” Varenne is correct in his call for a relevant inquiry and most of the thirteen chapters of this book successfully link detailed research into the day-to-day lives of urban residents with larger social theories. Without question, there has been a scarcity of Irish sociological literature based on solid urban research. In their introductory chapter the editors point out that most anthropological research in Ireland has focused on rural, instead of urban, communities. Where, as in Belfast, urban ethnographic themes have been addressed, they have too often focused narrowly on violence and sectarianism. Since 1977, the majority of Irish citizens have come to reside in cities or towns. Contemporary Irish cities, like all other postmodern urban areas, suffer their share of problems, including sprawling suburbanization, class conflict, gender inequality, and alienation . Irish Urban Cultures makes an important contribution to Irish social science literature in several ways beyond its obvious concern for urban themes and issues. First, it has a breadth of topics; any reader will find at least one chapter that will be of interest. Second, it does not confine its research to the Republic of Ireland but includes Northern Ireland in a significant way and thereby treats Irish cities in both the North and the South as part of one culture. Each chapter examines a different urban issue and locale. Chapters two and three document the urban planning process in Northern Ireland and critically analyze the implications of these plans for social groups and social change. Top-down planning is the norm within the centralized British system of Northern Ireland. This approach not only alienates many citizens, as shown in the example of transportation planning in Belfast, but also can produce wasteful mistakes—as in the case of the Craigavon new town. Dublin is the focus of chapters five and six, which discusses the importance of the personal dimension in local politics and the pecuBOOK REVIEWS 177 liarities of middle-class life in suburban Dublin. Traditional anthropological research into urban social groups is provided in chapters eight to ten where the values and behaviors of teenage girls in Cork, homeless men in Galway, and travelling people in Galway are explored. Finally, the two chapters provide historic ethnographic accounts that address the evolution of urban places and the nature of urbanization in an industrial town. Ireland is a European nation and one outcome of reading Irish Urban Cultures should be a greater appreciation of the similarities between the Irish and European urban experience. The editors argue that we need to highlight Ireland’s European commonalities instead of its differences. Furthermore, they contend that, owing to the smaller scale and size of its cities, Ireland could be a test case for implementing urban revitalization strategies. Irish Urban Cultures provides us with a more contemporary and sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of Irish urban life. —David O. Rafter Narrative Singing in Ireland: Lays, Come-All-Yes and Other Songs, by Hugh Shields, pp. 256, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1993, $39.50. Some of the most energetic folksong collecting activity of this century has gone on in Ireland, but despite this—and despite such extensive resources as the Irish Traditional Music Archive and the Folk Music Archives at University College Dublin— there has long been a dearth of published material on traditional Irish song...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 177-178
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
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