Borders, territory and space

Katy Hayward

in Irish Nationalism and European Integration

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719072789
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702369 | DOI:
Borders, territory and space

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This chapter discusses the meaning and significance given to ‘borders’ by official Irish discourse when defining Irish ‘territory’ and European ‘space’. The model of national territory is of a physical, bordered polity made live by the narrative of a common homeland. The framework of European space is also constructed with the aid of an ideal model and narrative in which cross-border co-operation meets shared needs. This chapter explores the way in which the traditional and new frameworks, narratives, and models of the territory and European space have been brought together in Irish official discourse since the 1970s. It presents a summary of the traditional conception of the Irish territory with an analysis of the way in which this conception has been upheld in Ireland's approach to the European Union. The chapter concludes by examining how a ‘European’ notion of shared space has been present in Irish official discourse on Northern Ireland. The idea of changing barriers into bridges was one such concept that gradually became less contentious in the Irish context through reference to its ‘European’ inspiration.

Keywords: borders; space; territory; European Union; Ireland; official discourse; Northern Ireland; Irish territory; homeland; bridges

Chapter.  15424 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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