Article in:Linguistic Landscape: Online-First Articles
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
Published online: 26 April 2021
Aiken, A. R. A., Digol, I., Trussell, J., & Gomperts, R.
Atkinson, D., & Kelly-Holmes, H.
(2018) Referendum on woman’s place in the home delayed six months. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/referendum-on-woman-s-place-in-the-home-delayed-six-months-1.3563218
Ben-Rafael, E., Shohamy, E., Hasan Amara, M., & Trumper-Hecht, N.
Calkin, S., & Browne, K.
Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D.
Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes
(2021) Final Report of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. Retrieved from https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/d4b3d-final-report-of-the-commission-of-investigation-into-mother-and-baby-homes/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/2f291-final-report-of-the-commission-of-investigation-into-mother-and-baby-homes/
Constitution of Ireland
(1937) Retrieved from https://assets.gov.ie/6523/5d90822b41e94532a63d955ca76fdc72.pdf
De Cillia, R., Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R.
Gal, S., & Woolard, K.
(2018) “An attempt to suppress democracy”: Removal of Labour’s referendum posters reported to gardaí. Thejournal.Ie. Retrieved from https://www.thejournal.ie/labour-party-referendum-posters-removed-3973106-Apr2018/
(2019) Irish calls to UK abortion lines drop but women still travelling. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/irish-calls-to-uk-abortion-lines-drop-but-women-still-travelling-1.3799415
n.d.). No Title. Retrieved from https://www.ifpa.ie
Justice for Magdalenes Research
n.d.). About the Magdalene Laundries. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from http://jfmresearch.com/home/preserving-magdalene-history/about-the-magdalene-laundries/
(2016) 1916 centenary: Remembering the ‘short lives and big dreams.’ Retrieved March 26, 2019, from Irish Times website: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/1916-centenary-remembering-the-short-lives-and-big-dreams-1.2589165?mode=sample&auth-failed=1&pw-origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2F1916-centenary-remembering-the-short-lives-and-big-dreams
Kozlowska, I., Béland, D., & Lecours, A.
Kress, G., & Van Leeuwen, T.
(2013) Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries. Retrieved from http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/MagdalenRpt2013
(2020) Citizens’ Assembly backs call for ‘women in the home’ clause to go. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/citizens-assembly-backs-call-for-women-in-the-home-clause-to-go-1.4175515
n.d.). What Does Reproductive Justice Look Like After the Referendum? A Migrant Perspective. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from https://merjireland.org/index.php/2019/02/05/what-does-reproductive-justice-look-like-after-the-referendum-a-migrant-perspective/
Nic Ghabhann, N.
Pütz, M., & Mundt, N.
(2019) Multilingualism, Multimodality and Methodology: Linguistic Landscape Research in the Context of Assemblages, Ideologies and (In)visibility: An Introduction. In M. Pütz & N. Mundt (Eds.), Expanding the Linguistic Landscape: Linguistic Diversity, Multimodality and the Use of Space as a Semiotic Resource. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
(2018) Referendum on the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018. Retrieved from http://www.referendum.ie/
(2017a) Tens of thousands take part in March for Choice rally. Retrieved from https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0930/908737-march-for-choice/
(2017b) Vote on abortion laws among seven planned referendums. Retrieved from RTÉ website: https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0926/907522-cabinet_referendums/
RTÉ & Behaviour & Attitudes Exit Poll
(2018) Thirty-sixth Amendment to the Constitution Exit Poll. Retrieved from https://static.rasset.ie/documents/news/2018/05/rte-exit-poll-final-11pm.pdf
(2018) Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Screening Programme: Final Report, September 2018. Retrieved from https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Scoping-Inquiry-into-CervicalCheck-Final_Report.pdf
Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. W.
Thistlethwaite, J., & Sebba, M.
(2018) Cancer controversy: director of CervicalCheck stands down. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/cancer-controversy-director-of-cervicalcheck-stands-down-1.3477975