The decades after 1800 saw a fundamental redefinition of the role of the state in Ireland. Many of the most pervasive and enduring forms of official intervention and regulation date from this period, such as a permanent centralised police force, a system of elementary education, a network of small courts, and a national system of poor relief. Many of these were preceded by large-scale official investigations whose results were published as parliamentary reports,
another novel aspect of state activity. The book analyses the construction and dissemination of an official image of Irish society in those reports. It takes as its principal example a state inquiry into poverty: the largest social survey of Ireland: lasting from 1833 to 1836, running to thousands of
pages, and offering a unique insight into pre-famine society and official perceptions of it.
This volume also illuminates two other contemporary aspects of the development of the state. The 1820s saw the beginning in Ireland of a comprehensive engagement with the parliamentary process by the population at large, with the appearance of the first mass electoral organisation in Europe, the Catholic Association. Finally, the Union of 1801 meant that Irish legislation was now discussed and enacted in Britain rather than in Ireland, and by a parliament and public newly informed by official
reports on Ireland. This was therefore a crucial period in the construction of the public understanding of Ireland in both Britain and Ireland, a process in which the state and its publications played a fundamental role.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 202
Weight: 464 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 22 mm
This book will reinvigorate a literature that has wanted for vim since the days when Oliver MacDonagh and R.B McDowell sketched the outline of British and Irish governement and administration. It deserves to be bought by many and read by more. * Ciaran O'Neill, Times Literary Supplement *
O Ciosain's book is an important contribution to the literature. It demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary methods and lays out a number of exciting new departures for the study of the role of the state in nineteenth-century Ireland. * Richard Torpin, Irish Studies Review *
Ireland in Official Print Culture is a strong addition to the field of historical research and a valuable resource for anyone interested in Irish Studies. * Eugene O'Brien, SHARP News *
O Ciosain's analysis of the massive documentation is determinedly innovative, and yields many stimulating ideas ... O Ciosain benefits from the wealth of the evidence relating to the nineteenth-century enquiries. In turn, though, the voluminous documentation has benefited from the rigour and scepticism with which he has reinterpreted it. * T.C. Barnard, English Historical Review *