Life history and the Irish migrant experience in post-war England

Life history and the Irish migrant experience in post-war England

Myth, memory and emotional adaption

Barry Hazley


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What role does memory play in migrants’ adaption to the emotional challenges of migration? How are migrant selfhoods remade in relation to changing cultural myths? This book, the first to apply Popular Memory Theory to the Irish Diaspora, opens new lines of critical enquiry within scholarship on the Irish in modern Britain. Combining innovative use of migrant life histories with cultural representations of the post-war Irish experience, it interrogates the interaction between lived experience, personal memory and cultural myth to further understanding of the work of memory in the production of migrant subjectivities. Based on richly contextualised case studies addressing experiences of emigration, urban life, work, religion, and the Troubles in England, chapters shed new light on the collective fantasies of post-war migrants and the circumstances that formed them, as well as the cultural and personal dynamics of subjective change over the life course. At the core of the book lie the processes by which migrants ‘recompose’ the self as part of ongoing efforts to adapt to the transition between cultures and places. Life history and the Irish migrant experience offers a fresh perspective on the significance of England’s largest post-war migrant group for current debates on identity and difference in contemporary Britain. Integrating historical, cultural and psychological perspectives in an innovative way, it will be essential reading for academics and students researching modern British and Irish social and cultural history, ethnic and migration studies, oral history and memory studies, cultural studies and human geography.


Barry Hazley:
Barry Hazley is Derby Fellow in the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool and AHRC Research Fellow in History at the University of Manchester