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'Knowing what it means to be Irish': experience as practice in the advertising industry

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This article derives from sociological research examining practitioners in the Irish advertising industry. Drawing from interviews with workers in this field, I examine how Irish advertising practitioners have co-opted the 'idiom of identity', enabling them to speak with greater confidence and in more emotionally compelling ways about advertising audiences, to humanize business strategy and to operationalize personal biographical experience in production. This article focuses on the ways Irish advertising practitioners describe their work and their understandings of Irishness in the context of a globalized Ireland and draws attention to what I describe as a 'discursive affinity' between cultural identity and professional acumen in the accounts of these workers. In concentrating on their valorizing of innate 'knowing', and drawing especially on the work of Foucault, this article attempts to explain why Irish advertising practitioners regard their own life experience as practice.
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Keywords: Irishness; advertising; experience; identity; practice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Applied Social Science, College of Human Sciences, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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