Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Legitimation and dissent: Colonialism, consumption, and the search for distinction in Galway, Ireland, ca. 1250–1691
by Hartnett, Alexandra Marie, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2010, 531; 3432728
Abstract (Summary)

The port of Galway is located on the Atlantic coast of Ireland and was settled by Anglo-Norman settlers in the mid-thirteenth century. There, the purposeful construction of a distinct social world began almost immediately upon the foundation of the town-as-colony/colony-as-town in western Connacht. Over time, individual agents deliberately shaped their social practices in order to create and maintain a structured status group of elites that was bound by kinship, was deliberately exclusionary, and was blatantly self-serving. They were able to accomplish this through the legitimation of their authority at the local level and a careful dissention aimed at the authorities situated above them in the political hierarchy. Eventually, however, the political, economic and social capital amassed by this elite community was no match for an expanding English empire that sent out ambitious administrators to re-colonize the colony. Local power was quashed by colonial authority.

Colonialism has long been a critical process in Ireland that predates the imperial projects that shaped modernity. In fact, it is entirely arguable that the English experience of colonial practice in Ireland contributed to the methods used to shape their subsequent projects of control in their other territories. This project thus provides a unique opportunity to ask, how does colonialism work? Moreover, after time has passed and practices have become normalized, what happens when that colony is reminded that it is supposed to be colonial and yet is found wanting? To answer these questions, I look at the processes of legitimation and dissent as they are evinced in consumption practices as key to uncovering the answers. Specifically, I look at civic and elite monumental architecture (castles and ramparts), ceramics, fine glassware, and faunal data. Through these, I explore the wine trade as well as the practices of feasting and smuggling.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dietler, Michael
Commitee: Dawdy, Shannon, Smith, Adam T.
School: The University of Chicago
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Cultural anthropology, European history, Medieval history
Keywords: Colonialism, Consumption, Feasting, Galway, Ireland, Landscape, Wine
Publication Number: 3432728
ISBN: 978-1-124-37673-8
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