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UNITED IN WHITENESS? IRISHNESS, EUROPEANNNESS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A ‘WHITE EUROPE’ POLICY

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Chapter Summary

This chapter asks what the specific experience of Irishness teaches us about the idea of ‘race’ and its relationship to ‘Europeaness’ and whiteness. It traces the process whereby Europe became ‘white’ and suggests that this is a core element of European identity. It also suggests that this legacy of whiteness is being profoundly reconfigured in the context of contemporary migration and the ongoing construction of the European Union. This project offers a intriguing perspective on the synergy between Hibernicisation and Europeanisation. This is illustrated by two Irish case studies. The first is an analysis of the way in which Irish migration policy has been shaped by the European Union, especially in regard to employment and migrant labour strategies. The second is an analysis of the Irish response to the ‘Chen case’ and resultant changes in Irish citizenship and nationality. This examination of the connection between Europeanness and Irishness raises uncomfortable questions about the contemporary European project and its outworking in terms of racism. The EU is currently uniting in whiteness. ‘Fortress Europe’ not ‘Sanctuary Europe’ remains the defining metaphor for the contemporary European project. This process is institutionally racist and profoundly anti-humanist - the very antithesis of becoming ‘united in diversity’.

10.1163/9789042030541_012
/content/books/b9789042030541s012
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