Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Kathleen Kane

Commitee Members

John Hunt, Sean O'Brien


"Breakfast on Pluto", "In America", "In the Name of the Father", "The Butcher Boy", "The Crying Game", "The Secret of Roan Inish", "Waking Ned Devine", authenticity, consumption, film theory, globalization, Ireland, Irish America, Irish film, Jim Sheridan


University of Montana


This thesis is concerned with the manners in which Irishness has become highly desirable and commodified, and the manifestations that commodification has taken in Irish film. In recognition that the Irish American diaspora holds a special regard for Irishness, I will explore reasons for the allure of Irishness for Irish Americans and how that allure contributes to commodification. Chiefly among these reasons are Irishness’ desirability as a white ethnicity and its alignment with a family values based morality. Irishness also has strong appeal for the Irish diaspora with its ties to a land that offers a welcoming “authentic” homeland and pre-modern escape from the perils of contemporary urban society. In addition to confirming the desirability for Irishness, this thesis explores how Irishness is depicted in film, particularly in the ways in which Irishness is stereotyped and commodified. By firstly examining the history of Irish film and outlining the disadvantages that native Irish cinema has encountered in its development, I will give the background that will explain, in part, the issues with which contemporary Irish films have to contend. The discussion of Irish film must also include an analysis of authenticity in terms of stereotyped portrayals of Irishness and the place of history in Irish film. These depictions will demonstrate the troubling aspects of commodified Irishness, not only in the ways in which it exists in Irish film, but also in the manner that the commodification is problematic in understandings of definitions of Irishness in general. In a response to these problematic portrayals of Irishness, this thesis will highlight contemporary filmmakers and films that confront issues of stereotyping and commodification by offering alternative depictions of Irishness and helping to develop a current and broad native Irish cinema.



© Copyright 2008 Erika Noelle Mann