Advertisement

Aquacity Versus Austerity: The Politics and Poetics of Irish Water

  • Michael RubensteinEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The global financial crisis of 2008 was, and is, a crisis of the commons. The policies of austerity and privatization enacted by European governments in response to the crisis only brought this fact into sharper relief. In Ireland when the government resolved to privatize its water infrastructure in 2013, an unexpectedly strong popular resistance movement took to the streets in protest. Water supply is often symbolic of the commons, and in Irish literature, there is a peculiarly strong tradition of thematizing and formalizing waterworks as an exemplary instance of what Bonnie Honig calls a ‘public thing’. This chapter recounts the recent political history of Irish Water alongside the nearly 100 year literary history of Irish water in Irish fiction, from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman and, most recently, to Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones. In the figure of Irish water, the Irish literary tradition speaks with urgency to the Irish neoliberal condition.

Works Cited

  1. Bersani, L. (2004). ‘Against Ulysses’. In Attridge, D., ed., James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Casebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.201–229.Google Scholar
  2. Burke-Kennedy, E. (2017). ‘Inventor of ‘Celtic Tiger’ Phrase Bails Out of Bank Job’. The Irish Times. Online Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/inventor-of-celtic-tiger-phrase-bails-out-of-bank-job-1.1733719 Accessed 2 October 2017.
  3. Cronin, A. (1998). No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien. New York: International Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Davies, D. (2017). Imperial Infrastructure and Spatial Resistance in Colonial Literature, 1880–1930. Oxford: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Deckard, S. (2016). ‘Solar Bones is that extraordinary thing, an accessible experiment, virtuosic yet humane’. The Irish Times. Online Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/solar-bones-is-that-extraordinary-thing-an-accessible-experiment-virtuosic-yet-humane-1.2838095. Accessed 2 October 2017.
  6. Fishman, C. (2012). The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  7. Freedman, A. (2006). ‘“Did It Flow?”: Bridging Aesthetics and History in James Joyce’s Ulysses’. Modernism Modernity, 13(1), pp.853–868.Google Scholar
  8. Honig, B. (2017). Public Things: Democracy In Disrepair. Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Jameson, F. (1982). ‘Ulysses in History’. In McCormack, W.J., and Stead, A., eds., James Joyce and Modern Literature. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  10. Joyce, J. (1998). Ulysses. Gabler, Hans Walter, ed. New York: Vintage, 1986.Google Scholar
  11. Klein, N. (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  12. Laeven, L. and Valencia, F. (2012). ‘Systemic Banking Crises Database: An Update’. IMF Working Paper. IMF Research Department. Online Source: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2016/12/31/Systemic-Banking-Crises-Database-An-Update-26015 Accessed 2 October 2017.
  13. Latour, B. (2004). ‘Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern’. Critical Inquiry, 30(2), pp.225–248.Google Scholar
  14. McCormack, M. (2016). Solar Bones. Dublin: Tramp Press.Google Scholar
  15. McDonald, H. (2013). ‘Irish bankers ‘hoodwinked’ government over bailout, secret recordings show’. The Guardian. Online Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jun/24/anglo-irish-bankers-taped-recordings Accessed 2 October 2017.
  16. Murray, P. (2015). The Mark and the Void. London: Hamilton. Kindle Edition.Google Scholar
  17. O’Brien, F. (1967). The Third Policeman. Glasgow: Hart-Davis & MacGibbon.Google Scholar
  18. O’Toole, F. (2014a). ‘The Irish Water debacle: why the State is heading towards being ungovernable’. The Irish Times. Online Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/the-irish-water-debacle-why-the-state-is-heading-towards-being-ungovernable-1.1986550 Accessed 2 October 2017.Google Scholar
  19. ———. (2014b). ‘The Irish Rebellion Over Water’. The New York Times. Online Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/20/opinion/fintan-otoole-the-irish-rebellion-over-water.html Accessed 2 October 2017.
  20. Rubenstein, M. (2010). Public Works: Infrastructure, Irish Modernism, and the Postcolonial. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  21. Slattery, L. (2015). ‘Michael O’Leary: Aer Lingus sentimentality is “rubbish”’. The Irish Times. Online Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/michael-o-leary-aer-lingus-sentimentality-is-rubbish-1.2172005 Accessed 2 October 2017.
  22. Smith, A. (1981) [1776]. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations. 1776. Cambell, R.H., and Skinner, A.S., eds. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  23. Varoufoukis, Y. (2017). Adults in the Room: My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment. London: Bodley Head Ltd.Google Scholar
  24. Wagenhofer, I., dir. (2005). We Feed the World. Austria: Allegro Film.Google Scholar
  25. Wall, M. (2015). ‘FF/Green cabinet told water metering plan could cost €500–€600 million’. The Irish Times. Online Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ff-green-cabinet-told-water-metering-plan-could-cost-500-600-million-1.2188558 Accessed 2 October 2017.
  26. ‘Water Services Act’. (2013). Electronic Irish Statutes Book (eISB). Published by the Office of the Attorney General. Online Source: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2013/act/6/enacted/en/html Accessed 25 July 2017.
  27. Winston, G. (2014). ‘Aquacities of Thought and Language: The Political Ecology of Water in Ulysses’. In Brazeau, R., and Gladwin, D., eds., Eco-Joyce: The Environmental Imagination of James Joyce. Cork: Cork University Press.Google Scholar
  28. WReC (Warwick Research Collective). (2016). Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World Literature. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stonybrook UniversityStony BrookUSA

Personalised recommendations