This study examines how language is employed to (re)create an Irish national identity through one popular form of non-formal education – Irish dancing. I specifically examine the entangled histories of the Gaelic League and An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), the Irish Dancing Commission dance. Together these two organizations have engaged in an anti-colonial project spanning nearly a century that links the Irish language, dance, and an idealized Irish identity. This year (2016) is the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the event that marked the beginning of the successful Irish independence movement. In light of this anniversary, language issues are at the forefront of many peoples’ minds. This dissertation considers to what extent the articulation between language and dance continues in Ireland today, and how the role of language and dance in (re)creating an idealized Irish identity has changed from an anti-colonial project to one that seeks to reify Irish national identity in an era of globalization. Furthermore, I argue for a renewed focus on non-formal education in the field of Comparative and International Development Education, specifically the role that non-formal education can play in identity formation and fomenting language attitudes.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2016. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Frances Vavrus. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 228 pages.
There is no nation without a language (Ní tír gan teanga): Language policy and the Irish Dancing Commission.
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