"Everybody is Irish on St. Paddy’s": Ambivalence and Alterity at London’s St. Patrick’s Day 2002

John Nagle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article gives an account of the first major St. Patrick's Day parade in London, highlighting the way the parade was used by the Irish community to increase the visibility and profile of the Irish in London by creating a positive Irish identity through the articulation of an inclusive experience of Irishness. Such prominent visibility of the Irish represents for many within the Irish community a formal acceptance of the contribution the Irish endow multicultural London, when for many years the Irish have been rendered invisible by being represented as a pariah community. I suggest that such a project is fraught with ambivalence, lying uneasily as it does in between an important politics of recognition and a dangerous reification of culture and ethnicity and the reduction of identities to a fetishized surplus value. Rather than viewing such spectacles as either radically liminal and progressive or co-opted by the “dominant power,” the organisers and sponsors are more seen as a “new social movement,” believing their mission is to pluralize society and provide new models of intercultural interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-583
Number of pages21
JournalIdentities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • visibility
  • ambivalence
  • parades
  • multiculturalism
  • inclusivity
  • stereotypes


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