On Being 'Irish': negotiating identity and the involvement-detachment balance in archival research

Katie/K Liston, Joseph Maguire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper takes up the call from Rojek (and others) in the 1990s for greater attention to be paid to the actual practice of involvement-detachment in figurational / process research (Elias, 2007). Drawing on material from ongoing archival research on the involvement of ‘Ireland’ in the British Empire Games, the authors will first outline their own ‘established-outsider’ biographies. This is important in light of their insights that follow on the challenges of maintaining relative detachment while immersed in archival material dominated by the ideologies of Pax Britannia on the one hand and political and cultural nationalisms on the other. Here, the involvement-detachment balance has fluctuated during the search for ‘the smoking gun’. The paper also reflects on the role of secondary re-involvement and the satisfaction to be gained from the generation of a ‘relatively adequate’ reality-congruent picture of the past, albeit one that is inevitably shaped by that which is both present and absent in various archives and historical sources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherN/A
Number of pages16
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2016
Event9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology - Leicester
Duration: 11 Jun 2016 → …

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology
Period11/06/16 → …

Keywords

  • archival research
  • involvement-detachment
  • Irish
  • identity

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