Exploring the construction of the Irish Mammy in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’
Making and breaking the stereotype
This paper explores how the cultural concept of the Irish Mammy is portrayed in the popular television comedy series ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’. Considering the historicity and cultural aspects surrounding essential views of Irishness that have shaped the archetype of the stereotype, we draw on a corpus of (semi)scripted fictional interaction taken from the series. Using a Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS) approach to explore linguistic patterning surrounding the use of key lexical markers (e.g. Mammy), we investigate what they reveal about how the concept is represented, (de)constructed, and negotiated. The paper discusses the construction and deconstruction of the stereotype and the extent to which it draws on shared knowledge to reflect and navigate particular cultural values and concerns (Hall 1997; Hall et al. 2013). It views the deconstruction, in particular, as a way of challenging the traditional stereotype, in light of societal change, to provide a more layered, realistic and multi-faceted insight into the identities of the Irish Mammy figure within the fictional context of Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Keywords: gender, culture, Irish-English, identity, construction, deconstruction, stereotype
Published online: 28 June 2018
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