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Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland$
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Richard Mc Mahon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319471

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319471.001.0001

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‘Do you want to pick a fight out of me?’: Homicide and personal relations

‘Do you want to pick a fight out of me?’: Homicide and personal relations

(p.32) 2 ‘Do you want to pick a fight out of me?’: Homicide and personal relations
Homicide in pre-Famine and Famine Ireland

Richard Mc Mahon

Liverpool University Press

Studies of violence in Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century have generally focused on conflicts arising from the rural economy and, to a lesser extent, from religious divisions and popular, or more particularly, Catholic alienation from the existing political and legal order. There can be little doubt that such studies have added immeasurably to our understanding of Irish society in the nineteenth century. The problem with this emphasis, however, is that more personal and less directly economic, political and religious disputes have not received the attention they merit. This chapter redresses this imbalance by exploring the part played by lethal violence in personal disputes. The chapter questions whether we can understand the nature and extent of such violence in the nineteenth century as fundamentally different to that of the present day and queries the applicability of broad theories of cultural change to the Irish case. Instead, parallels are drawn with patterns of violence in other countries and also with those in late twentieth-century Ireland in order to show how such violence might be more appropriately understood as part of a wider cross-cultural pattern of violent activity among men and, in particular, young men.

Keywords:   violence, homicide, faction fights, masculinity, honour, recreation, age, gender, civilising process, modernity

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