ARTICLES of the Identity Series

For more on the thinking behind the new paradigm on identity see Shelter and Shadows here

DNA sequences and human reproductin provide new scientific base for defining identity

26. Identity: a Scientific Perspective

Use and Misuse of “Identity” Brubaker and Cooper (2000) in their article Beyond “identity” make the case that too much is expected of the term; it is over-worked to the point that it is no longer useful as an analytical tool. They say: Conceptualizing all affinities and affiliations, all forms of belonging, all experiences of …

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25. The New Identity: Antidote to an Age of Anxiety

Identity Old and New Two concepts of identity exist; the old and the new. The aim of the present article is to highlight the practical benefits of applying the new. The old is, essentially, indescribable and ineffable. Dictionaries are unable to capture its meaning because it’s burdened—at core—by a paradox, as epitomised by the Ship …

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24. (Irish) Identity: Call for Objectivity

Identity and Governance If “Irish identity” does not actually exist (GKIS Essay Part III here), perhaps the notion of “European identity” is one step closer to aligning national thinking with the true nature of our real (i.e. universal) identity. The problem with this perspective is: it misses the point. “Identity” defines who we are; not …

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(ESSAY 3) Irish National Identity—Pre & Post 2016

Recommended: read Essay from the start here PART III Future Aspirations within a Framework of Universal Identity Back to Basics James Joyce, who became the literary voice of Dublin’s native middle-class, broke the conceptual boundaries enclosing this community, which enabled him to perceive its identity in universal terms. He succinctly encapsulated the concept in the …

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(ESSAY 2) Irish National Identity—Pre & Post 2016

Recommended: read from the start here Part II Seeking an Alternative View of Irish Identity The Obstinate Question In Part I of this essay, I suggest that discussions on Irish identity are never taken far enough. Terminating the debate prematurely solves nothing. So it’s time to stop going around in circles and come up with something …

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(ESSAY 1) Irish National Identity—Pre & Post 2016

Part I Shape of Irish Identity before 2016 Commemorations What is Irish Identity? In the lead-up to the 1916 commemorations President Michael D. Higgins called for a huge debate to redefine Irishness in a manner that is … appropriate for a real republic.[1] The ambition was not achieved by Easter 2016. The goal remains elusive …

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23. A Storm to Trump Identity Politics

Basket of Deplorables At a fundraising event in New York City in early September 2016 Hillary Clinton famously stated: You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.[1] Her campaign deviated from traditional …

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22. Identity and Resolution of Conflict

No Internal Divisions The last three articles of the Series conclude that: The porosity of tribal boundaries thwarts the strict applicability of the term “identity” to any ethnic group (article #19); There is a disassociation between underlying genetic structures and racial phenotypes (article #20); and Only one human culture exists. The varieties of cultural expressions found within …

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21. Identity beyond Notions of Culture

Interesting Curiosities Culture embraces the full range of learned human behavioural patterns like knowledge, language, art, beliefs, morals, norms, laws, customs, and all other capabilities and habits acquired by a member of a particular society.     . In Shelter and Shadows Raymond Keogh points out that the outward or visual differences amongst humans are largely …

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20. Identity beyond Notions of Race

New Identity Classifier In article #19 (GKIS) it is mentioned that the disassociation between our underlying genetic structures and our understanding of human differences, question most diagnostic tools we use to classify ourselves. For example, we often categorize humans on appearances, which can be deceptive. This is particularly relevant with regard to questions about “race”. …

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19. Identity beyond Notions of Ethnicity

Sub-sets of the Human Family? It was stated (article #17 GKIS) that a species is defined, in biological terms, by a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. This defines the identity of mankind as a whole. However, as we zoom in, how do we define the distinctiveness …

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18. Personal Identity; Reasons for Celebration

A Meaningless Word In today’s world “identity” is considered to be highly complicated. It’s regarded as being ineffable and indefinable.[1] Widespread acceptance of this mind-set has given rise to a weakening of the term to the point that it has become a multi-hyphenated, widely applied, meaningless word. Fundamental Change When considering any quest for enlightenment …

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Paddy's Day

17. Objective Definitions of Identity

DNA Sequences In recent years the Human Genome Project gave us, for the first time, the ability to read mankind’s complete genetic blueprint. Every individual has an exclusive genetic structure, which is a distinct pattern of DNA sequences. This basic pattern is measureable and constitutes an objective description of an individual’s deep-seated physical makeup. Furthermore, …

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16. A New Tool for Understanding Identity

Exciting New Vistas Article #15 of this Series (GKIS) mentioned that science has opened exciting new vistas into our ancestral past and our identity through human genetics. In his book Shelter and Shadows, author Raymond Keogh says: “I turned to this emerging field to take the process further. The tenor of the entire investigation was …

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Brazil Defeat W Cup

15. Contemporary Views of Identity

What is ‘Identity’? Identity goes to the heart of why we pursue genealogy and family history. It is well expressed in the popular TV slogan: Who Do You Think You Are? But: What is identity? The question should be followed by a definition. According to political scientist James Fearon of Stanford University, it’s not that simple. …

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14. Alternative Views about Identity

Understanding Identity Through Genealogy  Although the ‘Orinoco Expedition’ (articles #11 and #12 GKIS) changed the course of his investigation into the nature of identity, Raymond Keogh—author of Shelter and Shadows—continued to encounter difficulties.[1] He came to the conclusion that in order to understand identity through genealogy it is necessary to examine the full range of cultural …

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13. Hybrid Dimension of Identity

Change in Direction The Orinoco expedition (article #12 GKIS) led to the conclusion that we cannot arrive at a true definition of identity if any factor—past or present—that contributes to our makeup, is omitted. This led Raymond Keogh author of Shelter and Shadows to admit: I had been reluctant to acknowledge and examine the full …

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12. Identity: Idyllic Illusions

Jungles of South America When introducing his 600 km journey along the River Ventuari in Venezuela in 1975, author Raymond Keogh states: I liked to call our venture an expedition. However, it was far from a professional investigation; it was more a curious peep, by young foresters, into the jungles of South America. But for …

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11. Exploring Identity: Orinoco Expedition

Identity and Ancestral Influences The ultimate objective of genealogy and/or family history is to discover our identity. But, how far back should we go when tracing our ancestors? As far as existing records take us? As far as DNA studies allow? In Shelter and Shadows author Raymond Keogh states: “I had to decide on a …

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John Keogh

10. Gaelic Roots of an Urban Identity

Mistaken Irish Identity Irish Volunteer Gerald Keogh—after whom the current Series is named—presents a relevant example, demonstrating the real links that existed between middle-class native Dubliners (article #9 GKIS) and their tribal roots in rural Ireland. Ironically, Gerald’s headmaster Patrick Pearse failed to realise the complexities of Irish society as he looked to the West …

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Celt in city

9. Celt in the City: Forgotten Identity

A Long Established Social Identity James Joyce’s retreat scene in Grace in Dubliners is a statement about the strength of the middle-class Catholics in the city at the beginning of the 20th century (article #8 GKIS). They were a long-established social group and must have taken time to grow and develop into the positions they held in the early …

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5 Beechwood Rd 2

8. James Joyce Embraced Universal Identity

Sense of Cultural Remoteness and Frustration Raymond Keogh, author of Shelter and Shadows, acknowledges that he felt cultural remoteness from Ireland because of incompatible inherited memes at the personal level (article #6 GKIS) and because his Gaelic urban identity was not given recognition in Irish society (article #7 GKIS). James Joyce, who came from the …

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7. Identity: A Cultural Anomaly

Genuinely Irish? In the 1960s the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mr Lemass, decided to open the economy to free trade and eliminate protective barriers. As a result, businesses folded, the “rag trade” collapsed and many owners died under the stress of the new economic order. There was a strong feeling among Dublin traders that support, …

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Sugar loaf

6. An Identity that Didn’t Fit

Clash of Cultural Values In his book Shelter and Shadows, author Raymond Keogh tells us that—despite his decision to totally ignore his Old English background and embrace his Gaelic heritage—it became clear that his values clashed with those that were being lauded by the Irish State in the 1950s.[1] Irishness in the 1950s He expresses his …

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GKIS #4a

5. A Lifetime Quest to Solve the Meaning of Identity

The Ultimate Identity Partition When discussing the notion of “Irish identity” in modern Ireland, what springs to mind are the main partitions of society (e.g. Protestant v. Catholic  or loyalist v. nationalist); these divisions are almost clichés. Additional complexities must now be acknowledged, like the presence of foreign newcomers with their distinct cultures. More subtle …

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4. Identity: Wise to be Skeptical of Easy Solutions

More Irish than the Irish Themselves   When adopting an official Irish Identity for all its citizens, the state saw no problem in amalgamating the Old English (Normans) and the native Irish within a Gaelic milieu. After all, these invaders had adopted Gaelic culture; had intermarried with the natives and often spoke their language. The …

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GKIS #3b

3. An Outlandish Sense of National Identity?

No Unitary Irish Mind Fintan O’Toole’s conclusion that a single “Irish identity” does not exist (article #2 GKIS) is echoed by Declan Kiberd when he says: … there is no single Ireland, but a field of varied forces, subject to constant negotiations, and there is no unitary Irish mind, but many Irish minds … [1] …

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GKIS #3a

2. There Never Has Been a Single Identity

Genuine Irish Identity What could be more iconic—as representative of genuine Irishness—than the native culture of the West of Ireland? Aidan O’Sullivan wrote emotionally about a pilgrimage to the area: I was a young schoolboy then, perhaps 13 or 14 years old … I had become fascinated with the lives, traditions and ways of the …

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Anzac 6

1. What is Identity?

What is IDENTITY? . Mortal Enemies Irish Volunteer Gerald Keogh was killed in Dublin by Anzac diggers (soldiers of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) at dawn on 25th April 1916 (insets)   The clash of revered traditions becomes the starting point for our examination of identity    Songwriters Kevin McCarthy (left) and Geoff McArthur …

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