Richard Kearney, ed., Across the Frontiers: Ireland in the 1990s, ed. Richard Kearney (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1989), 280pp.

CONTENTS: Introduction, ‘Thinking Otherwise’ [7]. Pt. I - Political Perspectives: T. J. Barrington, ‘Frontiers of the Mind’ [29]; John Hume, ‘Europe of the Regions’ [45] Michael D. Higgins, ‘Ireland in Europe in 1992: Problems and Prospects for a Mutual Interdependency’ [58]; Paul Bew & Henry Patterson, ‘Ireland in the 1990s - North and South’ [78]; Rosemarie Rowley, ‘Thinking Globally and Acting Locally’ [91] Desmond Fennell, ‘Towards a World Community of Communities [99]. Pt II - Social and Economic Perspectives: Eithne Murphy, ‘Ireland’s Economic Welfare in a Barrier Free Europe’, [117]; Frank Barry, ‘‘Pluralism and Community’ [137]; Ivor Browne, ‘A Granular Society’ [151]; Alan Matthews, ‘The Role of the European Community’s Structural Funds in the 1990s’ [171]. Pt. III - Cultural Perspectives: Migrant Minds (in conversation with the editor’ [185] Paul Hewson [“Bono”] ‘The White Nigger’; Paul Durcan, ‘Passage to Utopia’; Neil Jordan, ‘Imagining Otherwise’; Robert Ballagh, ‘Responding’; Luke Gibbons, ‘Coming Out of Hibernation?: The Myth of Modernity in Irish Culture’ [205]; Desmond Bell, ‘Ireland Without Frontiers? The Challenge of the Communications Revolution’ [219]; Joseph O’Leary, ‘Religion, Ireland: in Mutation’ [231]. Pt. IV - International Perspectives: Alberto Moravia, ‘The Debate on European Cultural Identity. The Cultural Storm’ [241]; Edgar Faure, ‘A Europe of Regional Cultures’; Wim Wenders, ‘Europe Seen from Elsewhere’; Edgar Morin, ‘European Cultural Identity’; Julia Kristeva, ‘The Other Europe’; Georges Duby, ‘The Case for European Cultural Television’. Jean-François Lyotard, ‘Notes on the Postmodern Debate (Preview for a New Stage and Svelte Appendix to the Postmodern Question) [261]; Tom Docherty, ‘Passages to Postmodernism’ [268 ]; Notes on the Contributors.

TEXT: Richard Kearney, ‘Thinking Otherwise’, pp.7-25: Ireland can no longer be contained within the frontiers of an island [...] . “Ourselves alone” is a catch-cry of the past. But how do we decide our future?’ (p.7.)

‘It is unlikely that Ireland or any other European state in the 1990s will be able to maintain inherited notions of absolute autonomy’ (p.9.)

‘Whether Ireland after 1992 conforms more to the malign or benign scenarios is in large part a matter for us to decide’ (p.11.)

‘[…] An Ireland without frontiers is obviously an Ireland without borders. This does not, however, entail a “united Ireland” in the traditional sense of this term. For the Nation States of Britain and Ireland, which constitute the very basis for the opposing claims of nationalist and unionist ideologies, would be superseded by a European constellation of regions. An alternative model would have emerged transcending both the nationalist claim to exclusive unity with the Republic and the unionist claim to exclusive union with Britain.’ (p.18.)

‘As a small country which has experienced the ravages of colonial and imperial policies, we should be the last to condone the Community degenerating into a new Euro-Empire ambitious to rival the superpowers in geo-political warplay. On the contrary, our neutral history places us in a unique position to militate for a non-aligned Europe committed to world disarmament and strongly opposed to the notion of an Atlantic Alliance [...] which divides the world into antagonistic [19] blocs. On such matters, our historical bias is, thankfully, an anti-imperialist one.’ (pp.19-20.)

‘What are the central issues at stake in the cultural debate? Perhaps the most dominant is the question of identity and difference. What does it mean to be Irish? Is it some unique “essence” inherited from our ancestors? is it a characteristic of a specific language (e.g., Gaelic) or religion (Catholic/Protestant) or ideology (nationalist/unionist)? Is it a matter of ethnic memory, genetic heritage or geographical residence? One thing is certain: the question of what it means to be Irish - who we are and where we are going to - cannot be limited to the frontiers of our island. The affirmation of a dynamic cultural identity invariably involves an exploratory dialogue with other cultures.’ (p.21..)

‘Plagued by colonialism, famine and emigration, we become obsessed by the struggle with the “old enemy” England and settled for a rather insular definition of national identity and culture. But since such dark times in our history, we have begun to re-explore the rich diversity and openness of our intellectual traditions. There are growing signs in our culture today - both popular and artistic - that the plurality of our heritage is being recognised anew. And this also augurs well for a more creative relationship with our most immediate neighbour - Great Britain.’ (p.22.)

Kearney refers to adoption of ARSI resolution to positively encourage minority languages (Oct. 1981) and shares with John Hume in regarding it as ‘ far more likely to succeed than most steps taken by national governments to date.’ (p.25.)

‘A new Europe can only hope to discover its identity through diversity’ (p.25.)

‘In the 1900s nothing should be allowed to hinder our entitlement to a triple citizenship - of Ireland, Europe and the world.’ (p.25; END).

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