De Valera's Gains: The Masculine Body in Irish Political Cartoons, 1922–39

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Éamon de Valera was unquestionably one of the most significant political actors in twentieth-century Ireland. His political career, spanning almost six decades from the Easter Rising in 1916 to his death in 1975, makes him a fascinating subject for study. Indeed, de Valera's time in high office was arguably one of the longest of any democratically elected leader in history. Perhaps his most significant political achievement was the 1937 Irish Constitution. Controversially, this document proclaimed that "mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home,"1 inviting the following question: What connects gender and political power in de Valera's career? How, for instance, was the representation of de Valera's masculinity used to confer political legitimacy? Conversely, how were representations of his perceived lack of masculinity used to denigrate his legitimacy? This essay analyzes the representation of de Valera in the period 1922–39 through the medium of political cartoons. It argues that cartoons demonstrate how discourses of masculinity were central to the construction of political power in the Irish Free State, using de Valera as a case study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-93
Number of pages33
JournalEire-Ireland; a journal of Irish studies
Volume54
Issue number3 & 4
Early online date22 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2019

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cartoon
masculinity
political power
legitimacy
political career
political actor
Ireland
neglect
constitution
twentieth century
career
leader
labor
death
discourse
lack
gender
history
economics
Political Cartoons

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title = "De Valera's Gains: The Masculine Body in Irish Political Cartoons, 1922–39",
abstract = "{\'E}amon de Valera was unquestionably one of the most significant political actors in twentieth-century Ireland. His political career, spanning almost six decades from the Easter Rising in 1916 to his death in 1975, makes him a fascinating subject for study. Indeed, de Valera's time in high office was arguably one of the longest of any democratically elected leader in history. Perhaps his most significant political achievement was the 1937 Irish Constitution. Controversially, this document proclaimed that {"}mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home,{"}1 inviting the following question: What connects gender and political power in de Valera's career? How, for instance, was the representation of de Valera's masculinity used to confer political legitimacy? Conversely, how were representations of his perceived lack of masculinity used to denigrate his legitimacy? This essay analyzes the representation of de Valera in the period 1922–39 through the medium of political cartoons. It argues that cartoons demonstrate how discourses of masculinity were central to the construction of political power in the Irish Free State, using de Valera as a case study.",
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year = "2019",
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}

De Valera's Gains: The Masculine Body in Irish Political Cartoons, 1922–39. / Ellis, Tim.

In: Eire-Ireland; a journal of Irish studies, Vol. 54, No. 3 & 4, 22.12.2019, p. 61-93.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

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PY - 2019/12/22

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