Hyphenating Ireland and America: examining the construction of contemporary hybrid identities in film and screen media

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Goff, Loretta
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University College Cork
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Hyphenation legitimises and makes coherent the unstable and amorphous notion of identity, clarifying “who one is” with shorthand efficiency: Irish-American, Hispanic-American, Anglo-Irish, are some of many identities sutured into coherence by the hyphen. Further to this, and significantly, hyphenated identities are deeply implicated in commodified cultural exchanges between nations, and thus usefully illustrate the ideological and economic operations of identity construction and international relations. This thesis examines contemporary performances of Irish-American hyphenation across several aspects of film and screen media; including stardom, directors, production locations and genres. In doing so, it interrogates the economic and social factors that inform the construction of Irish-American identity and the relationship between Ireland and America (in a media production context). Cinema, as cultural expression and industry, is an interactive form of discourse that magnifies—literally and formally—processes of hyphenation. It therefore acts as the ideal platform for the analysis of protean identity performances. Through such analysis, this thesis seeks not just to simply categorise an emergent “type” of contemporary Irish-America that performs hyphenation with flexibility, but to assess and evaluate the processes of such categorisations. Simultaneously, it reveals the conservative stance taken in films wherein, more often than not, singular identity is implicitly, but problematically, offered as “safer”. This thesis acts as a timely paradigmatic study of contemporary hyphenated identity within the international context.
Stardom , Film , Genre , Irish-American , Saoirse Ronan , Aidan Quinn , Film production , Hyphenated identity
Goff, L. 2018. Hyphenating Ireland and America: examining the construction of contemporary hybrid identities in film and screen media. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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