The intersection of nation and gender in the Linguistic Landscape of Ireland’s Eighth Amendment referendum campaign
In May 2018, voters in the Republic of Ireland passed a referendum proposal to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, lifting the Irish state’s near-total ban on abortion. Scholars have argued that Ireland’s abortion ban has historically played a key role in the construction of Irish national identity along Catholic, traditional, and heteronormative lines, meaning the lead-up to the vote allowed for key insights into the discursive construction of national identity and gender in Ireland. Drawing on theoretical discussions in both the nationalism and Linguistic Landscape (LL) literature and adopting a qualitative, multimodal approach to analyse the referendum campaign’s LL, I argue that there was a dominant understanding of the relationship between women and Irish national identity, predicated on a positive stance towards Irish identity, while any dissenting voices which questioned whether advancing gender equality was compatible with nationalist ideology were confined to the margins of the debate.
Keywords: Ireland, national identity, gender, abortion, referendum campaign, Eighth Amendment, stance, hegemony
- 2.The Eighth Amendment and abortion in Ireland
- 3.Beyond “top-down” and “bottom-up”: National identity and hegemony
- 4.Data and methods
- 5.Understandings of national identity in “No” signage and the marginalisation of women
- 6.Hegemonic understandings of the relationship between gender and Irish national identity in “Yes” signage
- 6.1Official campaign posters taking hegemonic stances
- 6.2Bottom-Up signs reproducing hegemonic stances
- 7.Counter-hegemonic or dissenting bottom-up LL items
Published online: 26 April 2021
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