‘Nation’ Consciousnesses in Medieval Ireland

‘Nation’ Consciousnesses in Medieval Ireland

Tanaka, Miho (General Education Division, Oita National College of Technology)

Journal of International Economic Studies (2010), No.24, 3-16


This paper considers the process of the formation of ‘nation’ consciousnesses in Medieval Ireland. It spans from the seventh century, when multiple historical sources appeared, to the second half of the twelfth century, when the period of English rule began. It can be said that Ireland was ‘peripheralized’ by the English ‘empire’ in the second half of the twelfth century and has remained so ever since. What nation consciousnesses had formed in Ireland until that time? Outside forces have invaded Ireland from both the Scandinavian Peninsula in the ninth century and from England in the second half of the twelfth century. How did the arrival of ‘different ethnic groups’ and ‘different nations’ affect the nation consciousnesses of the native inhabitants of Ireland? This paper examines such problems. 

By considering the history and cultural status of Ireland before it became ‘peripheralized’ we can contribute something toward an analysis and understanding of the peripheralization process and the progress of the decolonization of this country. Moreover, to examine the formation of ‘nation’ consciousnesses is to consider the political situation and the history of the kingdoms in medieval Ireland. In addition, needless to say, the geographical position of Ireland as an island country is considerably important in the formation of ‘nation consciousnesses’.


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