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Narratives of postcolonialism in liminal space : The place called Phoenix Park

Moles, Kate. 2007. Narratives of postcolonialism in liminal space : The place called Phoenix Park. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Encounters with physical places construct a sense of both communal and individual identity. This thesis looks at the effects of transformation and fragmentation of existing and remembered places through a qualitative engagement with postcolonial Ireland in the context of modernisation. Phoenix Park, Dublin, is taken as the lens, constituting the research site and refracting both historical legacy and contemporary (re)invention. It is argued that many of the 'monuments' of contemporary and historic 'Irishness' events, gatherings, buildings, statues, structures and spaces, are represented in the Phoenix Park, Dublin and as such the space acts as an important location for the development of shared memories and commemoration, and understandings of state, culture, nature and history. The Park creates an illusion of nature, designed from scratch and then re-presented back to human audiences in a cultural performance. Using ideas from postcolonial thinking (Bhabha, 1994 Spivak, 1990, 1999), this thesis asks what this performance tells us about the culture of the Park and the way people understand it. Colonialism is inherently spatial processes of mapping, charting and defining space are linked with the colonial project, as are the epistemological issues connected to these methods. This thesis examines these ideas by looking at a postcolonial space by examining the changing uses and events that have occurred in the Park. The thesis works through the intersections between the local and the national in a liminal place that exists in the interstices of history, culture, space and nature. By exploring the cracks in these discourses, it discovers new epistemologies, cultures and understandings in Phoenix Park. The three main themes that emerge from this research surround ideas of authenticity, nationalism and Irishness and the engagement with and understanding of space and place through a postcolonial perspective.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISBN: 9781303208300
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Cardiff University, British Association of Irish Studies
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:04

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