Jazz Research Journal, Vol 4, No 1 (2010)

‘Earthly, sensual, devilish’: Sex, ‘race’ and jazz in post-independence Ireland

Eileen Hogan

Abstract


This article examines racialized and sexualized constructions of jazz in Ireland in the post-independence era. Drawing on newspaper coverage and Government debate from 1920 to 1938, I argue that the broadcasting service and the dance halls represented key sites of formation of Irish national identity, which was based upon gendered productions of space and place. The nation-building project was premised upon the idealization of a rural, sanitized moral landscape. In this period, fears of foreign cultural corruption and the liberalization of sexual mores were articulated through intensive campaigning, led by the Catholic elite and largely supported by the state, against jazz music which was seen as a cultural import that threatened Irish cultural identity and the nation.

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