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Irish LondonMiddle-Class Migration in the Global Eighteenth Century$
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Craig Bailey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318818

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318818.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Irish London

Craig Bailey

Liverpool University Press

In the eighteenth century, London had the largest population of middle-class Irish men and women outside of Ireland, yet these migrants have remained historically invisible. The lack of sustained analysis of different migration flows into the city makes for an easy slippage into the assumption that because middle-class migrants were not segregated they must have assimilated, and were therefore no longer truly Irish. Scholars have mistaken the identities of middle-class migrants by making poverty the touchstone of Irishness and by presuming that visible characteristics such as Irish language, Irish accents and Irish names necessarily had negative meanings. Recent literature on the relationships between metropole and colony, which has broken down rigid dichotomies such as core and periphery, insiders and outsiders, and the assimilated and the segregated, provides a different approach. De-centring the metropolis within a global context offers ways to re-imagine the geographies of power from within, allowing for a reassessment of the city as a negotiated space rather than as a fortress heavily guarded by insiders who pulled all the strings. Moving beyond the idea of a singular, dominant metropolitan culture opens up new geographies in which middle-class Irish migrants can be located.

Keywords:   Metropole and Colony, Assimilation, Segregation, Identity, Irish Language, Irish Accent

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