Becoming local: Immigrant candidates in Irish politics

Neil O'Boyle

Abstract


This exploratory article re-examines the findings of a recent study of “new immigrant” candidates in Irish local politics. Drawing specifically on interviews with African political candidates, together with an analysis of several of their websites, the article explores the process of becoming local as it is articulated in interviews and signposted in website content. Rather than a fine-comb analysis of words and content, this article looks for clues and markers which may help to illuminate this complex process. Localism, understood here as the primacy of the local over other foci of allegiance, permeates the interview discourse of these political actors and frames their presentation of self online. While interviewees emphasise the important difference between standing for and being accepted as a local, they also suggest that becoming local is achievable in a way that changing one’s ethnic group or escaping from racialisation is not. The article concludes with suggestions for further research, noting in particular the potential usefulness of theories of transnationalism and translocalism.

Keywords


Ireland; localism; immigrants; political participation; personal websites

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS622012565