‘A good Irishman should blush every time he sees a penny’: Gender, nationalism and memory in Irish internment camp craftwork, 1916-1923

Joanna Bruck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

This article explores how the craftwork created in Irish prisons and internment camps in the aftermath of the 1916 Rising through to the end of the Civil War allowed prisoners to negotiate changing concepts of political and social identity. Items such as bone crosses and harps reveal the tensions inherent in discourses of religious identity and cultural nationalism, while the reworking of prison-issue objects illustrates how a sense of personal agency was maintained in a profoundly disempowering context. Macramé handbags and children’s reins gave internees a continued sense of involvement in and control over their homes and relationships, while mantle borders, tea cosies and table centres conjured idealised notions of domesticity. Fundamentally, the creation of such objects allowed prisoners to engage with the troubling and often contradictory experiences of masculinity that lay at the heart of camp life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-172
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Volume20
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • Nationalism
  • gender
  • internment
  • memory
  • craftwork
  • Ireland

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