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The administration of hunger : colonialism, biopolitics and the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1852 Nally, David Patrick 2006

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THE ADMINISTRATION OF HUNGER: COLONIALISM, BIOPOLITICS AND THE GREAT IRISH FAMINE, 1845-1852 by DAVID PATRICK NALLY B.A. (Joint Honours), University College Cork, 1999 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY In THE F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Geography) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March 2006 © David Patrick Nally, 2006 Abstract Seasonal hunger and "partial famines" were common occurrences in nineteenth-century Ireland, but the Great Irish Famine (c.l845-1852) was sudden, stark and devastating. The immediate trigger was the appearance of a mysterious blight causing the widespread failure of the potato harvest. In a relatively short period of time almost one eighth of the population perished, while two million Irish ploughed the seas searching for new homes and new beginnings. This dissertation aims to resituate the Famine within a nexus of political violence. This nexus was forged through a history of capitalist-colonial relations with Britain and later through a series of biopolitical 'experiments' that brought Irish life increasingly into the realm of state power. Earlier modes of conquest and colonisation were gradually superseded by a powerful ideology of reform and 'amelioration,' which ultimately legitimised a series of state-led interventions in Ireland. Threading this historical narrative are three important famine landscapes. Firstly, I examine how discourse produces and sustains profound fractures between ruler and ruled — the satiated and the emaciated — and how this mobilises specific government interventions ostensibly to support those deemed incapable of helping themselves. Secondly, I analyse the evolution of a series of institutional landscapes that extended and deepened the administrative arm of the state and ultimately played a significant role in operationalising various modalities of relief during the eighteen-forties. Thirdly, I focus on a series of politico-juridical acts that produce the figure of homo sacer — a radically depotentiated form of life that may be improved out of existence or destroyed with little compunction. Together these 'faminescapes' manifest (and mystify) the economic relations of production, modalities of representation, and regimes of power that constitute the horror of mass starvation. An historico-political understanding of these processes is essential to challenging claims that naturalise famine. I conclude that famine mortality occurred inside a sophisticated apparatus of care and direction: aid was controlled, relief structures were operationalised, institutions were built, bodies were managed, laws were sanctioned, and ideologies were mobilised. Important too is the knowledge that famine was used as an engine of historical transformation, a practice that is still relevant to many of today's so-called 'natural disasters.' ii Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents . iii List of Tables v List of Figures vi Acknowledgements viii Introduction: Victims Without Oppressors and Deaths Without Crimes 1 Traumatic History 1 Naturalising Hunger and Politics of Blame 3 'Famine Crimes' 7 Life-administering Biopower 10 The Bare Life of Homo Sacer 14 Between Limitless Care and Unconditional Abandonment 16 Faminescapes 20 Dissertation Outline 23 Conclusion 25 Chapter One: Acts of Union ; 28 Introduction ,...28 Colonial Law and the Pale 35 Crown Control and Statute Book Colonialism 48 Acts of Union: Irish Questions and Colonial Answers 55 Conclusion .72 Chapter Two: Making up People: Routes and Routines in the Production of Colonial Space 75 Introduction 75 Letterpress Landscapes and the Knowledge Economy 78 Routes and Routines of Colonial Travel 83 An Amateur Commissioner 88 History and Life 94 Landscapes of Disaffection and Reform 97 "A Different Race of Men": the Racialisation of Poverty 110 Conclusion 120 Chapter Three: The Administration of Hunger 124 Introduction 124 The Laboratory 126 Under the Eye of a Paid Officer 129 Violent Geographies: Bare life and Abandonment 149 The War on Dwelling and the Miserable Ejected 169 Breaking into Jail 183 Conclusion 190 iii Chapter Four: Rationalising Disaster: Thomas Carlyle and the Irish Question 192 De-humanised Geographies : .192 Carlyle's Sickly 'Irish Question' 196 "Eternity's Commissioner" 203 Governing Starvation 208 Conclusion: the Language of Legitimation ; 219 Conclusions: Hungry Tremors 223 A Long Haemorrhage 223 De-naturalising Famine 235 An "Artificial Famine"?"" 239 Faminescapes 243 Homines Sacri 252 Bibliography 256 Appendix 1: Workhouse Designs 279 Appendix 2: Nicholls's Tables 285 iv List of Tables Table 3.1: Workhouse and Outdoor Relief . 183 Table C . l : Faminescapes 245 Table C.2: Inside-Outside Dialectics 249 Table C.3: Faminogenic Behaviour 254 Table A2.1: Numbers relieved in the workhouse together with the number and rate of deaths 285 Table A2.2: Numbers of destitute persons out of the workhouse under the 1st and 2nd sections of the Extension Act (lOf/z and 1 \th Vict., cap3\) .286 v L i s t of F i g u r e s I n t r o d u c t i o n : V i c t i m s W i t h o u t O p p r e s s o r s a n d D e a t h s W i t h o u t C r i m e s 1 Figure 1.1 The Extent of the Blight in Europe, 1845 .2 Figure 1.2 Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan 4 Figure 1.3 John Mitchel 6 C h a p t e r O n e : A c t s of U n i o n Box 1.1 Famine, historiography and the politics of anachronism 30 Box 1.2 The law of attainder .42 Figure 1.1 The Pale 37 Figure 1.2 Tudor plantations 39 Figure 1.3 James I plantations .43 Figure 1.4 Transfer of Land Ownership .45 Figure 1.5 Daniel O'Connell .57 Figure 1.6 Driving Cattle for Rent between Oughterard and Galway. 59 Figure 1.7 Traveller and Beggars in Muckross .68 C h a p t e r T w o : M a k i n g u p People: R o u t e s a n d R o u t i n e s i n the P r o d u c t i o n of C o l o n i a l Space Box 2.1 Abnormality and the production of Manichean Geographies . 95 Box 2.2 Overpopulation and the Naturalisation of Disaster 119 Figure 2.1 Excerpt from Henry Inglis's Table of Contents 80 Figure 2.2 Canal and Road Services, c. 1841 .84 Figure 2.3 Bianconi Services 1815 - 1840 84 Figure 2.4 An Outside Jaunting Car as Inglis described 85 Figure 2.5 The Hut or Watch-house .99 Figure 2.6 Miss Kennedy Distributing Clothes at Kilrush ; 100 Figure 2.7 Common Mayo Mud Cabin 102 Figure 2.8 Worst Sort of Mayo Stone Cabin 102 Figure 2.9 Hovel Near the Foot of the Reek 103 Figure 2.10 A Kerry Cabin and Its Inhabitants 107 Figure 2.11 Early Racialisation of the Irish 110 Figure 2.12 Daniel O'Connell Conjures up the Irish Frankenstein 111 Figure 2.13 The King of A-Shantee 113 C h a p t e r T h r e e : T h e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f H u n g e r Figure 3.1 Poor Law Unions Created Between 1838 and 1850. 138 Figure 3.2 Elevation of Main Building of the New Workhouses of Castletown and Dingle....139 Figure 3.3 Aerial View of Parsonstown Workhouse, Co. Offaly 140 Figure 3.4 The Workhouse Admission and Discharge Book 143 Figure 3.5 The Poor Law Commissioners' Dietary Recommendations 146 vi Figure 3.6 Government Sale of Indian Com, at Cork 151 Figure 3.7 The Central Soup Depot, Barrack Street, Cork 163 Figure 3.8 The Village of Moveen, three miles West of Kilkee 174 Figure 3.9 The Ejectment of Irish Tenantry: troops help evict tenants and their houses are 'tumbled' 175 Figure 3.10 A Scalpeen at Dunmore 176 Figure 3.11 An Evicted Family with their Scalpeen in a Ditch 177 Figure 3.12 Starving Peasants at a Workhouse Gate 185 Figure 3.13 Woman Begging at Clonakilty 187 Chapter Four: Rationalising Disaster: Thomas Carlyle and the Irish Question Figure 4.1 Thomas Carlyle 194 Figure 4.2 Charles Gavan Duffy 200 Figure 4.3 Young Ireland in Business for Himself .204 Figure 4.4 Thomas Carlyle's Second Tour of Ireland, 1849 206 Figure 4.5 The Irish Old Man of the Mountain and his £50,666 of relief. 209 Figure 4.6 The Impudent Irishman asks John Bull for a "thrifle" to buy a blunderbuss 210 Figure 4.7 The Workhouse at Clifden, Galway, which Carlyle visited in late July, 1849 .212 Conclusions: Hungry Tremors Figure C. 1 The Visionary Geography of an Improving Landlord 226 Figure C.2 A Terrible Record: the Dwindling Population of Ireland 230 Figure C.3 Emigrants at the Government Medical Inspector's Office .244 Appendix 1: Workhouse Designs Figure A. 1 Exhibiting the Enlargement of the Workhouse for Buildings for the Children 279 Figure A.2 Elevation of Proposed New Building for Children 280 Figure A.3 Union Workhouse. Drawing of Hot Plate. 281 Figure A.4 Union Workhouses in Ireland: Ventilation 282 Figure A.5 Workhouse Bedstead 283 Figure A.6 Drawing of Ventilators for Outer Walls .284 Acknowledgments The reading and research in this dissertation was generously supported by the National University of Ireland Travelling Scholarship (2000-2004) and the University of British Columbia's University Graduate Fellowship programme (2003, 2004). I gratefully acknowledge this financial assistance. Einstein once said that our inner and outer lives depend on the labour of others. In this spirit I wish to acknowledge and thank my Ph.D committee for their time, commitment and energy. I know Denis Linehan since my undergraduate days at Cork, which is perhaps too long a time to calculate debts or register gratitude. During my brief spell of teaching at Cork in the spring of 2005, trips for coffee and listening to his sound advice and sharp wit kept me sane. At a critical stage of revision, Denis provided very helpful suggestions about clarifying the arguments in the dissertation. Juanita Sundberg read and provided detailed comments on too many drafts of these chapters. It was at Juanita's insistence that I began to think more thoroughly and carefully about the function of race. At every stage I profited enormously from her intelligence, encouragement, and unstinting support for the ideas expressed in the thesis. Chapter four emerged from a directed studies course with Jack Foster. Many of the nineteenth-century travel narratives that appear in the bibliography were first raised through this initial foray. Jack selflessly read many of these texts with me and his sharp comments then, as on the dissertation in general, helped to improve the drafts enormously. I owe a very special debt to Gerry Kearns. At an early stage he very properly insisted that I let history talk back to ideas. On umpteen occasions — at various conferences and informal meetings — Gerry spoke with me about my work. His impressive ability to decipher my ramblings and provide useful comments is everywhere evident. These discussions, and so many more, had a profound influence on the direction of the research. Gerry's considerable expertise on the Great Famine and Irish Historical Geography in general, is liberally acknowledged in the footnotes. In researching these chapters I have made good use of the cyberspace as a collegial network. Chris Vanden Bossche, James Donnelly, Melissa Fegah, Amy Martin, and Kerby Miller were kind enough to answer my queries regarding sources or impertinent questions about their own interpretations. Kevin Whelan and Airirita Rangasami went a step further and furnished me with unpublished work. For the kindness of strangers I am very grateful. In addition, the following friends and colleagues have provided advice and intellectual support, have commented on drafts, provided sources, or have sometimes relinquished their own materials for me to read: Mary Gilmartin, Willie Jenkins, Mike Heffernan, Joanna Long, John Morrissey, and Geraldine Pratt. I want to especially thank my good friend Matt Farish for all his support, advice and good company over the years. I hardly need add that unless noted the interpretations offered are my own. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Eric Leinberger for his impressive work on the map of Carlyle's travels. Furthermore, the research would not have been possible without the tremendous interlibrary loan service that UBC offers. In this respect the staff at Koerner Library — especially David Winter — were magnanimous and efficient with all my requests. I was also viii v e r y f o r t u n a t e to h a v e t e c h n i c a l l y g i f t e d f r i e n d s w h e r e v e r I w a s b a s e d . W h e n m y w r i t i n g m a c h i n e p a c k e d u p C r a i g H u r l e y , A d r i a n D u n n e a n d V i n c e n t K u j u l a w e r e t h e r e to o f f e r t h e i r c o n s i d e r a b l e k n o w - h o w . E v e r y t h i n g is o p e r a t i n g f i n e n o w , t h a n k s to t h e m . I a l s o w i s h to t h a n k s ta f f a n d f r i e n d s at the D e p a r t m e n t o f G e o g r a p h y , U n i v e r s i t y C o l l e g e C o r k w h o m a d e i t p o s s i b l e f o r m e to c o m e a n d l e c t u r e w h i l e w o r k i n g o n m y d i s s e r t a t i o n . M a n y o f the i d e a s e x p r e s s e d i n these p a g e s r e a l l y b e g a n to gestate as I s t r u g g l e d to a r t i c u l a t e t h e m to an u n d e r g r a d u a t e a u d i e n c e . I o w e a t r e m e n d o u s debt to W i l l i e S m y t h , m y s u p e r v i s o r a n d i n t e r l o c u t o r d u r i n g m y f i r s t p o s t g r a d u a t e y e a r at C o r k . W i t h o u t h i s i n d e f a t i g a b l e s u p p o r t a n d f r i e n d s h i p I w o u l d n o t h a v e m a d e the j o u r n e y f r o m the ' o l d ' w o r l d to the ' n e w . ' I n 2000 I w a s p r i v i l e g e d to r e c e i v e a s c h o l a r s h i p that e n a b l e d m e to u n d e r t a k e m y d o c t o r a l s t u d i e s o u t s i d e I r e l a n d . T h e t e r m s o f the s c h o l a r s h i p w e r e g e n e r o u s : n o r e s e a r c h s t i p u l a t i o n s , a l i b e r a l s t i p e n d , a n d the c a p a c i t y to d e c i d e w h e r e to c o m m e n c e m y s t u d i e s . A b o v e a l l I w a n t e d to w o r k w i t h D e r e k G r e g o r y . W h e n h e a c t u a l l y o b l i g e d I p a c k e d m y b a g s i n a h u r r y les t h e c o u n t e n a n c e d a c h a n g e o f heart . A s I w a s to q u i c k l y l e a r n D e r e k is n o t o n l y o n e o f the v e r y best m i n d s i n the f i e l d ; h e is a l s o a c o n s i d e r a t e , a b s o r b i n g a n d w o n d e r f u l l y f r a t e r n a l s o u l . H i s c r i t i c a l i n s i g h t s a n d p r o f o u n d sense o f i r r e v e r e n c e h a v e s u s t a i n e d m e t h r o u g h o u t t h i s p r o j e c t . I a m d e e p l y g r a t e f u l . M y f a m i l y , e s p e c i a l l y m y p a r e n t s J o h n a n d E l i z a b e t h , h a v e g i v e n m e so m u c h l o v e a n d s u p p o r t o v e r the y e a r s . M y e d u c a t i o n w a s p l a c e d b e f o r e r e t i r e m e n t s a n d m u c h - d e s e r v e d h o l i d a y s — - e v e n w h e n i t w a s c l e a r that o n e d e g r e e w o u l d n o l o n g e r satiate. I w a s o f t e n a b s e n t w h e n I s h o u l d h a v e b e e n there ( a n d p e r h a p s t h e r e w h e n I s h o u l d h a v e b e e n a b s e n t ) . T h e y h a v e h a d to p u t u p w i t h m u c h , i n r e t u r n f o r so l i t t l e , a n d a l l w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e g r a c e a n d g o o d h u m o u r . I a m i m m e n s e l y l u c k y . T h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n w a s b e g u n i n V a n c o u v e r , a d v a n c e d i n W a s h i n g t o n D . C . a n d c o m p l e t e d i n N e w m a r k e t - o n - F e r g u s . A l o n g the w a y I h a v e b e e n a i d e d b y i n n u m e r a b l e f r i e n d s a n d c o l l e a g u e s a n d t h e r e are a t h o u s a n d acts o f t e n d e r n e s s a n d t o l e r a n c e that n e v e r see t h e i r w a y i n t o f o o t n o t e s . B u t the r e a l b e d r o c k i n m y l i f e has b e e n the l o v i n g c o m p a n i o n s h i p o f E s t e l l e L e v i n . W i t h o u t h e r t h o r o u g h s u p p o r t a n d se l f less h e l p t h i s s i m p l y w o u l d n o t h a v e b e e n p o s s i b l e . It i s , t h e r e f o r e , w i t h a d e e p sense o f h u m i l i t y a n d g r a t i t u d e that I d e d i c a t e th is w o r k t o h e r . I k n o w n o w w h y t h e y s a y a b i r d n e v e r f l e w o n o n e w i n g . i x For millennia man remained what he was for Aristotle: a living animal with the additional capacity for political existence; modern man is an animal whose politics calls his existence as a living being into question Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Doctrines are war machines Regis Debray, Critique of Political Reason The human body is a battleground David Harvey, Spaces of Hope Famines are wars over the right to existence Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World The poor were treated and despised as if they were beings of quite a different creation. The satiated never understand the emaciated Hugh Dorian, The Outer Edge of Ulster: A Memoir of Social Life in Nineteenth-Century Ireland Ireland, Ireland that cloud in the West, that coming storm William Ewart Gladstone, letter to his wife, 1845 x Introduction Victims without Oppressors and Deaths without Crimes "The abyss has been fathomed." — Charles Trevelyan. The Irish Crisis. Traumatic history In 1843 a mysterious blight was observed in the potato crop in America. Within two years it had crossed the Atlantic and spread across many parts of Europe, first appearing in Dublin in August 1845. Over the next five years the Irish potato crop failed four times, the ironic exception being the year commonly referred to as "Black '47." During that period one million people, approximately one-eighth of the population, perished while a further two million left behind their homes forever. Three million people, largely labourers, cottiers and small holders, were literally dead or gone.1 Historian Peter Gray has said that "no peacetime European crisis since the seventeenth century, with the possible exception of the Ukrainian famine in the early 1930s, has equalled it in intensity or scale."2 The occurrence of a devastating famine in Ireland, at the time when European famines were thought to be a relic of the past, has provoked deep, serious and oftentimes acrimonious debate. In the field of Irish Studies there is perhaps no more divisive issue than the Irish Famine. Oddly enough, however, it is neither the enormity of human suffering nor its intense consequences on Irish society that tend to stoke the flames of dispute. The stakes appear highest (and the tone most shrill) when dealing with the vexed questions of judgement and responsibility. A number of disturbing facts tend to aggravate these debates. Firstly, the sojourn of Phythophthora Infestans, the potato-killing pathogen, to Irish shores was in itself unexceptional (various regions of Europe and Scandinavia were also affected), but in comparative terms its effects were, to say the least, dramatically disproportionate across Ireland (see Figure 1.1). Indeed, as already suggested, Ireland suffered mass starvation on a magnitude that the European continent had not endured for centuries. More controversial is the knowledge 1 Cathal Poirteir. "Introduction." The Great Irish Famine. Ed. Cathal Poirteir. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1995: 10; William J. Smyth. "Introduction: Remembering the Great Irish Famine 1845-1851." Journal of Economic Studies 24.1/2 (1997): 4-9. 2 Cited in, James S. Donnelly. The Great Irish Potato Famine. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2002: 35. 3 Peter Solar. "The Potato Famine in Europe." Famine 150. Ed. Cormac 6 Grada. Dublin: Teagasc, 1997. 112-27. 1 that, as the Irish Famine drew to a close, over one million visitors poured into London to witness the Great Exhibition (1851) where Britain's "technical, industrial and financial supremacy" was proudly displayed. 4 The exhibition is quite literally a spectacular reminder that the catastrophe of Famine occurred when Ireland was constitutionally linked to Great Britain, then considered to be 'the workshop of the world,' a beacon of democratic government, and one of the most interventionist governments of its day. Finally, as Gerry Kearns points out, the debate is polarised by the constraints of writing what he helpfully terms "traumatic history": "What hangs over the historiographical debate ... is not just modern politics, but also the dilemmas of dealing with national identities organised around extreme situations." According to Kearns these "extreme situations" operate like a "moral black hole" draining history of nuance "and leaving only extremism Figure 1.1: The extent of the blight in Europe, 1845 beyond its pul l ." No doubt traumatic Source: Bourke, 1993:142 tensions have fuelled wide disagreement about how and why so many Irish perished, but it is Kearns' insistence on a "moral black hole" that seems to inhere to "extreme situations" that I find most suggestive. Why does historical judgement fall short in situations where it is surely most needed? Below I want to examine several attempts to explain the Irish Famine that might be said to lean towards this "moral black-hole" in so far as they tend to naturalise the Irish experience of mass starvation. The point is not to castigate these attempts at historical judgement, but to examine the depths of this "moral black hole" where in the face of extreme situations history seems particularly unhelpful. 4 Christine Kinealy. "Was Ireland a Colony? The Evidence of the Great Famine." Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Ed. Terrence McDonough. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005: 62. 5 Gerry Kearns. "Educate That Holy Hatred': Place, Trauma and Identity in the Irish Nationalism of John Mitchel." Political Geography 20 (2001): 888. 2 Naturalising hunger and politics of blame Kearns is right to assert that writing "traumatic history," and basing judgements around "extreme situations," has had a deep impact on the historiography of the disaster, but I would add that this relates to the very nature of the "extreme situation" and what we take this term to mean. There is certainly a school of historical thought that interprets the "extreme situation" of famine as revealing a deeper and more troubling excess. One example would be neo-Malthusian arguments that claim that nineteenth-century Ireland represented a case of extreme overpopulation (a "superabundant" people) and that a population cull through mass hunger was unavoidable.6 Other scholars choose to place the blight to the centre of their story assigning the real meaning of events to an unruly nature. In one of his many books on the Irish Famine, for instance, Cormac 6 Grada claims that and that the Irish Famine was "a tragic ecological accident." "In the end," he writes "the Irish were desperately unlucky."7 More recently David Dickson has described the Irish Famine as being the result of a series of "malign coincidences," a term that seems to echo 6 Grada's reading.8 As with neo-Malthusian arguments this view places events beyond blame because, as Terry Eagleton writes, "a blankly indifferent Nature is not even enough of a subject to be malevolent."9 More seriously these arguments tend to mimic a belief held by many Victorians that the Famine was the will of an almighty "providence" whose intentions and methods are as unfathomable as they are inevitable.10 Whether "a blankly indifferent nature" or a divine dispensation, the effect is to naturalise the Famine by invoking a human travesty in which it is impossible to find anyone culpable. Read this way we might say 6 T h e best e x a m p l e o f this thesis is K e n n e t h H . C o n n e l l . The Population of Ireland, 1750-1845. O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n Press , 1950. J o e l M o k y r makes the s ign i f i can t po in t that the mos t voc i fe rous cha l l enge to M a l t h u s i a n i s m was " e x p o u n d e d b y a large number o f con tempora ry wr i t e r s , pamphleteers , and I r i sh p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m i s t s . " J o e l M o k y r . Why Ireland Starved: A Quantitative and Analytical History of the Irish Economy, 1800-1850. L o n d o n : G e o r g e A l l e n & U n w i n , 1983: 39. 7 It seems that c o n f i g u r i n g I r i sh h i s to ry , and the F a m i n e ' s p l ace in this narra t ive , i n v o l v e s c o n f i g u r i n g degrees o f secur i ty ; and e v e n perhaps degrees o f i ndemni ty , f r o m the con tempora ry i m p l i c a t i o n s o f past events. O n e sees s u c h ca l cu la t ions p l a i n l y i n 6 G r a d a ' s popu la r account . P r i s e d be tween "the W h i g v i e w " o f h i s to ry and the " g e n o c i d e theories f o r m e r l y espoused b y the f e w nat ional is t h i s to r i ans , " O G r a d a c o n c l u d e s his o the rwise measured account w i t h the f r i v o l o u s l ines that the F a m i n e was a natural disaster. C o r m a c 6 G r a d a . The Great Irish Famine. L o n d o n : M a c m i l l a n , 1989: 76 . T o be fair , O G r a d a ' s subsequent w r i t i n g s demonstra te jus t h o w far he has d i s tanced h i m s e l f f r o m this ear l ie r o p i n i o n , but s i m i l a r judgements pers is t a lbei t i n a less apo loge t i c terms. See F r a n k l i n F o e r . " P a t a k i a n d Potatoes: H a l f - b a k e d Ideas about I r i sh H i s t o r y . " Slate. January 19, 1997 . 8 D a v i d D i c k s o n . " T h e Othe r Grea t I r i sh F a m i n e . " The Great Irish Famine. E d . C a t h a l Po i r t e i r . D u b l i n : M e r c i e r Press , 1995. 5 1 . T h e r e is a lso a c o n f u s i o n o f " t r igger fac tors" w i t h the " u n d e r l y i n g causes" o f f amine w h i c h I re turn to i n the c o n c l u s i o n . 9 T e r r y E a g l e t o n . Heathcliff and the Great Hunger: Studies in Irish Culture. L o n d o n : V e r s o , 1995. 12. 1 0 See R o b e r t D u n l o p . "The F a m i n e C r i s i s : T h e o l o g i c a l Interpretat ions and Imp l i ca t i ons . " 'Fearful Realities': New Perspectives on the Famine. E d s . C h r i s M o r a s h and R i c h a r d H a y e s . D u b l i n : I r i sh A c a d e m i c Press , 1996. 164-74; Pe te r G r a y . '"Potatoes and P r o v i d e n c e ' : B r i t i s h G o v e r n m e n t Responses to the Great F a m i n e . " Bullan: An Irish Studies Journal 1.1 (1994): 75-90 . 3 that the "extreme situation," and the monstrous excess of the Irish Famine, is the fact that life is sacrificed to form of violence beyond malevolence and reproach. I want to discuss two more examples, which though entirely different in emphasis, also run against the problem of non-accountability. In May 1977 Austin Bourke published an article in the Irish Times newspaper titled "Apologia for a Dead Civil Servant." In this very important opinion piece, the author seeks to exculpate the role of Charles Trevelyan, who was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, for most of the Irish Famine (see Figure 1.2). Bourke claims that Trevelyan has been unfairly vilified as "principal scapegoat for the British government's mishandling of the famine crisis." The article is intended to stand as "a cautionary example of Figure 1.2: Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan how easily one can be led to transfer guilt from a responsible minister of government to a public servant who faithfully implements and defends his master's policy without regard to his own opinions or preferences."11 To justify this position Bourke makes the argument that Trevelyan was far more compassionate in administering state provisions under the Tory administration led by Robert Peel than under the subsequent leadership of John Russell and the Whigs. The implication being that it was government that influenced Trevelyan and not vice versa. It is Bourke's belief that Charles Trevelyan was a handmaiden of power, a person who executed higher orders practically anonymously, without manifest "opinions or preferences." In other words, we are being asked to excuse Trevelyan's role because he was a mere cog in a wheel — a "principal scapegoat." There are, I think, clear problems with this argument. In particular, Trevelyan's own account of The Irish Crisis (first published in the Edinburgh Review in 1848) flies in the face of Bourke's reading. Trevelyan goes to great lengths to justify government policy — in this sense the volume stands as an excellent reminder that Famine revisionism is not a twentieth-century invention — even sending copies of his manuscript to the 1 1 The article was later reprinted in Austin Bourke. 'The Visitation of God'? The Potato and the Great Irish Famine. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1993: 170. 4 Pope (who had been exhorting Catholics to send aid to Irish charities), the King of Prussia, as well as newly appointed relief officials in Ireland. It is difficult to square Bourke's image of Trevelyan as a timorous public servant with the fact that Trevelyan was instrumental in building the Treasury into its modern supervisory role for the entire civil service. Indeed, if we reflect on contemporary famines it is government officials that more commonly face censure on the seemingly fair grounds that they usually have the most authority and resources.13 Yet, at another level, Bourke's argument raises far more serious questions regarding individual responsibility and the not inconsiderable difficulties of writing traumatic history. The problem that Bourke identifies in his 'scapegoat thesis' is the shifting of responsibility from human agents to systems. This is also a problem identified by Hannah Arendt in her controversial treatise on the banality of evil . 1 4 How does one judge human actions when faced with the knowledge that a system — in Arendt's case totalitarianism — can actually turn people into cogs?15 Herein lies an essential problem regarding the question of responsibility and blame: if one places blame at the door of a particular individual the shout is raised that they are being made a 'scapegoat' for a larger structure, whereas-if one condemns the system, say economic policies or institutional structures, then by generalising the atrocity one also risks trivialising it. 1 6 Thus unlike neo-Malthusian, providentialist, or fate-based readings, Bourke's interpretation places the Famine more squarely within a political context. But if politics is, first 1 2 Melissa Fegan. Literature and the Irish Famine 1845-1919. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002: 28. 1 3 For example, David Marcus makes clear that government officials are often "those most likely to have the resources and authority to commit famine crimes." David Marcus. "Famine Crimes in International Law." The American Journal of International Law 97.2 (2003): 247 nl9.1 discuss this important article in the conclusion. 1 4 Hannah Arendt. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Viking Press, 1964. See also Edward S. Herman. "The Banality of Evil." Triumph of the Market: Essays on Economics, Politics and Media. Boston: South End Press, 1997. 97-101 1 5 During the trial of Eichmann the judges circumvented this problem: "For, as the judges took great pains to point out explicitly, in a courtroom there is no system on trial, no History or historical trend, no ism, anti-Semitism for instance, but a person, and if the defendant happens to be a functionary, he stands accused precisely because even a functionary is still a human being, and it is in this capacity that he stands trial." Arendt agreed with this decision, but even so she felt that the system itself cannot be left out of the account altogether. Hannah Arendt. "Personal Responsibility under Dictatorship." Responsibility and Judgement. Ed. Jerome Kohn. New York: Schocken Books, 2003. 30-32 1 6 Arendt correctly noted that guilt is inherently individualising: "When all are guilty no one is: confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing." Hannah Arendt. On Violence. New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1970: 65. The unexplored terrain of triviality is where Arendt found herself. In this sense, her report on the "banality of evil" has but one unequivocal message: evil seldom arrives in the package we expect. 5 and foremost, the domain of human action, how can we accept what Bourke is asking us to: namely, that some human actions are more or less empty and attributeless and thus beyond malevolence and reproach? Of course it could simply be that Bourke is wrong and for this reason it is worth comparing his arguments with those of John Mitchel. Mitchel also judged the Famine to be a political event, although his controversial views are certainly not biased in favour of Trevelyan. 1 7 We know that Mitchel understood the Famine to be part of a history of colonial conquest, but he also emphasised that this "conquest" was of a radically different order to a military campaign. In the following extract from The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps), Mitchel makes this point explicitly: If one should narrate how the cause of this country was stricken down in open battle, and blasted to pieces with shot and shell, there might be a certain mournful pride in dwelling upon the gallant resistance, as in the case of our Irish wars against Cromwell, against King Wil l iam the Third, and against the power of Britain in '98; — but to describe how the spirit of a country has been broken and subdued by beggarly famine; — how her national aspirations have been, not choked in her own blood, nobly shed on the field, but straggled by red tape; — how her life and soul have been ameliorated and civil ized out of her; — how she died of political economy, and was buried under tons of official stationery; — it is a dreary task, which I wish some one else had undertaken.1 8 Mitchel's death-dealing famine is the consequence of colonial bureaucracy ("red-tape" and "official stationery"), fiscal ideology ("political economy") and Whiggish liberalism ("amelioration"). 1 9 However, the immediate striking point is that both Mitchel and Bourke, who are otherwise impossible to measure in the same sentence, conclude that the Irish Famine involved the workings of a system that killed people more or less anonymously. This is a significant point. As with readings that 'naturalise' famine, human life is seemingly abandoned to violence beyond imputability in so far as it is practically impossible to attribute responsibility anonymously. This point should not be taken to mean that these readings are " Gerry Kearns provides a detailed consideration of Mitchel's views on Irish history and how this inflects various strands of Irish nationalism. Kearns, op. cit. See also Donnelly, op. cit.: 18-22. 1 8 John Mitchel. The Last Conquest of Ireland (Perhaps). Glasgow: R & T Washbourne Ltd, n.d.: 139. 1 9 In my opinion Mitchel offers a compelling reading of how the Irish Famine occurred. Where his account is most wrong — and most troubling — is his xenophobic hatred of "the English." I discuss this aspect of Mitchel's writings in the conclusion. Figure 1.3: John Mitchel 6 worthless. On the contrary, what begs addressing is the significance of these unlikely coincidences, including this recurring scene of non-responsibility in which — for different reasons — the concept of guilt seems not useless, but attributeless. 'Famine crimes' Here it certainly helps to consider the larger picture. Recently Alex de Waal, a leading figure on issues of hunger and human rights, has called for the political and legal recognition of what he calls "famine crimes." As a solution to situations of mass starvation de Waal proposed that "anti-famine contracts" could be established between a people and their government.20 Leaving to one side the merits or demerits of this proposal it is immediately obvious that de Waal's remarks only make sense from inside the knowledge that famines are unpunishable atrocities: deaths that are not recognised as crimes as such. The knowledge that certain people needlessly starve to death raises innumerable politico-ethical difficulties, but none more difficult to face than the fact that this happens with near total impunity making the search for 'oppressors' seem somewhat superfluous and the language of responsibility almost meaningless. We can begin to relate this point to the readings just discussed by rehearsing some comments made by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. According to Agamben, the concept of responsibility has been "irredeemably contaminated" by the law to the point where responsibility (and guilt) simply express two aspects of legal imputability: "The gesture of assuming responsibility is therefore genuinely juridical and not ethical. It expresses nothing noble or luminous, but rather simply obligation, the act by which one consigned oneself as a prisoner to guarantee a debt in a context in which the legal bond was considered to inhere in the body of the person responsible. As such,, responsibility is closely intertwined with the concept of culpa that, in the broad sense, indicates 71 the imputability of damage." In other words, according to Agamben, the principle of - Alex de Waal. Famine Crimes: Politics and the Disaster Relief Industry in Africa. Oxford: African Rights & The International African Institute in Association with James Curry and Indiana University Press, 2002. de Waal's proposal is helpful discussed in Edkins. "Mass Starvations and the Limitations of Famine Theorising." IDS Bulletin 33,4 (2002): 15. 2 1 Giorgio Agamben. Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. New York: Zone Books, 2002: 22, 23-24; For a penetrating analysis of Remnants including some of the passages discussed above see, J.M. Bernstein. "Bare Life, Bearing Witness: Auschwitz and the Pornography of Horror." Parallax 10.1 (2004): 2-6. 7 responsibility — and certainly the gesture of assuming responsibility — only makes sense inside the sphere of juridical obligation and legal bond.2 2 This presents a real difficulty for any analysis of famine precisely because famines, understood as unpunishable atrocities, remain impervious to principles "irredeemably contaminated" by the law. Indeed, it is this "extreme situation" — of employing juridically tainted categories where they are seemingly unhelpful — that muddies the water of judgement and raises the stakes in writing history around traumatic situations. In this sense what Kearns identifies as the "moral black hole" of trauma drains history of far more than nuance. Faced with the reality that certain lives are routinely exposed to death, history conjures up human cogs, lethal systems, and rebarbative natures — ever larger 'scapegoats' — to resolve the unsettling fact that guilt cannot be assumed. Recent studies show that the "moral black hole" is assuredly deepening. Mike Davis estimates that across the 'Third World' between 60 and 90 million people died of famine in the late Victorian period.23 Two centuries later, according to the World Food Organisation, ten million people die of hunger and malnutrition every year. That amounts to 25,000 lives every day or one human life every five seconds. Today hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to global health killing more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. These figures need to be considered in light of the fact that 'The twentieth century was the worst ever in terms of famine mortality, yet it was also the historical moment when the technical capacity to eradicate famine was first achieved."24 Indeed, the editors of a provocative volume of essays on "new famines" argue that "in most cases when famines happen, no government is thrown out of By way of demonstrating the complete "confusion" of ethical and juridical categories Agamben maintains that in modern society "the contrite assumption of moral responsibility is invoked at every occasion as an exemption from the responsibilities demanded by the law." Agamben. Remnants of Auschwitz, op. cit.: 24. At first abstruse, this contention holds a fair degree of purchase. Take, for example, the fact that the former U.S. Secretary of Defence, Robert McNamara, can publicly declare guilt and regret for his seminal role in the Vietnam War or the fact that a company like Shell can respond to it collusion in the execution of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa (along with eight other Ogoni leaders) by initiating a "massive media blitz pronouncing the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility." Similarly during the Irish Famine Edward Twisleton, the Chief Poor Law Commissioner, resigned on the grounds that he could no longer partake in government's policies which he believed were killing many Irish people. In other words, he resigned on moral grounds and not on any legal pretext. I take up this argument in the conclusion. Doug Sanders. "It's Just Wrong What We're Doing." Globe and Mail. January 24, 2004; Sofiri Peterside, Patterson Ogon, Michael Watts and Ann Zalick. "The Delta Blues Again." Counterpunch. November 10, 2005. 2 3 Mike Davis. Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World. London: Verso, 2001. For an exemplary discussion of Davis's contribution see Michael Watts. "Black Acts." New Left Review 9.May/June (2001): 125-39. 2 4 Stephen Devereux, Paul Howe, and Luka Biong Deng. "The Wew Famines'." IDS Bulletin 33.4 (2002): 1. 8 power, no politician is tried for genocide, no donor agency officials lose their job." 2 5 In an important essay on the Irish Famine Amartya Sen acknowledged that: "Famines are, in fact, so easy to prevent that it is amazing that they are allowed to occur at all." Recently Jenny Edkins, echoing Alex de Waal's point about "famine crimes," argues that because famines are allowed to happen — and, in some cases, are made to happen — acts of "mass starvation" ought to be considered crimes.27 Edkins argues that "If mass starvation is a crime, the appropriate language should be used. Crimes don't happen, they are committed. Crime is not 'ended,' but criminals deterred, detained and prosecuted."28 Hence I want to insist that Kearns's remarks regarding the "moral black hole" to trauma and the consequent difficulty of writing history around "extreme situations" actually dovetail with recent suggestions that "there is a 'black hole' of accountability at the heart of international relief systems" when dealing with famine.29 I insist on this because it suggests that history and indeed international relief operations need to grasp the nettle of non-responsibility that weighs so heavily on the discussion and response to famine. Accordingly, the beginning point of my analysis is to question what sort of politics treats certain people as secondary subjects whose lives are of little or no value — that can expose peoples lives, routinely, more or less anonymously and with seeming impunity to a death-dealing violence? How is this extreme situation of "complete rightlessness" created? Indeed what sort of subject is captured at the centre of this politics? v In negotiating these difficult questions I have benefited from a close reading of the philosophies of Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault and in particular their theorisations on the development of "biopower." In different ways both Foucault and Agamben argue that human life is increasingly caught a powerful dialectics of care and conquest that defines Western modernity. Since the concept is quite complex, and since Agamben's relationship to Foucault's original theorisations is mired in controversy, it seems helpful to provide a history of the concepts and theory before I outline precisely why it relates to the Irish Famine and how the dissertation will be structured. 25 Ibid.: 5. 2 6 Amartya Sen. Development as Freedom. New York: Anchor Books, 2000: 175. 2 7 Edkins, op. cit.: 15. 28 Ibid.: 15 2 9 Devereux, Howe, and Deng, op. cit.: 5. 3 0 The term belongs to Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, 1976: 295-96. Life-administering biopower The concept of "biopower" was first deployed by French philosopher, Michel Foucault, in the last chapter of his well known study The History of Sexuality. In the final part of the book, which was it seems the first to be written, Foucault discusses the deployment of sovereignty in the context a new technology of power, what he calls "a bio-politics of the population."31 The historical development of this power requires some explaining before I discuss Agamben's re-reading. What is biopower? What does it have to do with the state and the right of death and power over life? It is necessary to dig deep into the history of sovereignty to uncover an answer. For a long time one of the characteristics of sovereign power was the right to decide over life and death. The power of the sovereign over individual lives was, Foucault tells us, an ancient right deriving from the Roman patria potestas that granted the father of the Roman family the right to "dispose" of the life of his children and his slaves. Gradually sovereign power was diminished, or at least circumscribed, until its invocation was conditioned by the defence of the sovereign and his survival. If the sovereign was threatened by external enemies he could legitimately wage war and require his subjects to take part in the defence of the state. Without directly proposing their death he was empowered to "expose" their life to likely fatality. Thus he wielded, if you like, an indirect power over his subject's life and death which Foucault formulated as right to make die or let live. Foucault characterises this form of power as mainly a power of deduction: "Power in this instance was essentially a right of seizure: of things, time, bodies, and ultimately life itself; it culminated in the privilege to seize hold of life in order to suppress it." 3 1 Michel Foucault. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1980: 139. This chapter ought to be read in conjunction with Foucault's lecture at the College De France on March 17, 1976. Michel Foucault. Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College De France 1975-1976. Trans. David Macey. Ed. Arnold I. Davidson. New York: Picador, 2003: 239-264. There is now a huge body of literature on biopower but I have greatly benefited from Stuart Elden's reading of Foucault's oeuvre especially Stuart Elden. "Plague, Panopticon, Police." Surveillance & Society 1.3"(2003): 240-53; Stuart Elden. "The War of Race and the Constitution of the State: Foucault's «// faut defendre la societe» and the Politics of Calculation." Boundary 2 29.1 (2002): 125-51; Stuart Elden. "The Constitution of the Normal: Monsters and Masturbation at College De France." Boundary 2 28.1 (2001): 91-105. See also Thomas Lemke. '"The Birth of Bio-Polities': Michel Foucault's Lecture at the College De France on Neo-Liberal Governmentality." Economy and Society 30.2 (2001): 190-207. 3 2 Foucault. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, op. cit.: 136. 10 According to Foucault this all changed at the end of the eighteenth century (and this is what primarily interest us). Now, so Foucault claims, sovereign power takes control of life in order to reinforce and optimize its existence rather than to seize and suppress it. In other words, we can now speak a "life-administering" power as sovereign power yields ground to biopower.33 Today, more so than ever before, the state takes control of life, of the human being as a living being, as one its prime objectives. Foucault explains best: The old power of death that symbolized sovereign power was now carefully supplanted by the administration of bodies and the calculated management of life. During the classical period, there was a rapid development of various disciplines — universities, secondary schools, barracks, workshops; there was also the emergence, in the field of political practices and economic observation, of the problems of birthrate, longevity, public health, housing, and migration. Hence there was an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations, marking the era of bio-34 power. Clearly there are two new and related powers operationalised. The first, regarding the discipline and administration of the individual body, Foucault calls anatomo-politics and the second, detailing the regulation of the entire social body, Foucault calls a bio-politics of the population or human species. From Foucault's earlier studies we know that the discipline of the individual body (or anatomo-politics) operates in and through 'disciplinary spaces' like the prison, the asylum, the schoolhouse, the army barracks and so forth. It works at the level of the body through distribution, separation, surveillance, and using techniques like inspections, bookkeeping, reporting, and drilling, which are carefully deployed in order to exact dependencies.35 The new biopower emerging at the beginning of the nineteenth-century does not eliminate or supplant anatomo-politics — and this is crucial — but rather expands and redeploys it. Unlike anatomo-politics, which is addressed to bodies, the new non-disciplinary power is applied "not to man-as-body but to the living man, to man-as-living being... to man-as-species."36 We no longer have simply an anatomo-politics of the human body, but a "biopolitics" of the human race. "Ibid.: 136 34 Ibid.: 140. 3 5 The key text is Michel Foucault. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage, 1979. Foucault also discusses what he calls "political anatomy" and, significantly, how this relates to capitalism. 3 6 Foucault. Society Must Be Defended, op. cit.: 243. 11 Foucault cites a number of historical examples including the science of demography, the birth of statistics (which etymologically links knowledge to statecraft), public health campaigns and so forth. These interventions permitted power to invest life at the level of "populations" and "species," and to think of "living" as a complex relationship between material forms (like wealth and resources) and social programmes (like policing, public health, and social development). Under biopower fertility, illness, diets, habitation are subject to minute observation. Issues such as geographical area and climate become paramount.38 Epidemics, diseases, and famines are now carefully managed. In short, modern governments — from the late eighteenth-century on — are not just concerned with their territory and the individuals within it but with an economic, political, scientific and biological problem. This problem is "life" which has now become a target of power.40 As Foucault elaborates: "Western man was gradually learning what it meant to be a living species in a living world, to have a body, conditions of existence, probabilities of life, and individual and collective welfare, forces that could be modified, and a space in which they could be distributed in an optimal manner."41 What are we to make of this bio-regulation by the state, this "bio-power"? If in the nineteenth-century we are confronted with a power that works to optimize life, a power that is essentially "life-administering," how come Foucault can tell us that "wars were never as bloody as they have been since the nineteenth-century, and all things being equal, never before did regimes visit such holocausts on their own populations"?42 In other words, how does biopower relate to sovereignty — the power to kill and expose certain lives to violence? Foucault attempts to answer this question through an ingenuous reformulation: if sovereignty's old right was "to make die or let live." Today we live in a world in which a new right is established "to 'make' live and to 'let' die." 'Making live' — which is the power of For two excellent discussions see Ian Hacking. "Biopower and the Avalanche of Printed Numbers." Humanities in Society 5.3/4 (1982): 279-95; Peter Buck. "People Who Counted: Political Arithmetic in the Eighteenth Century." M i 73.1 (1982): 28-45. 3 8 The following summary owes much to Stuart Elden. "The War of Race and the Constitution of the State", op. cit.: 125-51 3 9 Michel Foucault. "Governmentality." Trans. Robert Hurley and others. Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 Volume Three: Power. Ed. James D. Faubion. New York: The New York Press, 1994. 201-22. 4 0 Foucault writes that "biopolitics deals with the population as a political problem, as a problem that is at once scientific and political, as a biological problem and as power's problem." Foucault. Society Must Be Defended, op. cit.: 245 4 1 Foucault. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, op. cit.: 142. 4 2 Ibid.: 136-137. 12 regularization or biopower — never entirely escapes the death function of sovereign power. Rather it redistributes its functions without terminating its effects. Accordingly wars today "are no longer waged in the name of the sovereign who must be defended; they are waged on behalf of the existence of everyone; entire populations are mobilized for the purpose of wholesale slaughter in the name of life necessity. Massacres have become vital. It is as managers of life and survival, of bodies and the race, that so many regimes have been able to wage so many wars, causing so many men to be killed." 4 3 There are two important points to all this. The first is to do with what Foucault describes as "the entry of life into history" (and thus into the orbit of political techniques) through a biopower whose "highest function" is to "invest life through and through."44 This investment describes how the management of life is increasingly included in our political systems. Foucault is not claiming that biopower was "the moment when the first contact between life and history was brought about," but that life is increasingly passed into "knowledge's field of control and power's sphere of intervention."45 In other words, the politicisation of natural life, in its biological factness, outlines an important development in the relationship between geography, knowledge and power. Biopower marks a series of important connections between patterns of inscription (which invest life) and regimes of intervention (that produce forces to be modified) that are also, of course, productions and orderings of space. The second important point concerns the creation of a certain tension between biology and history. What Foucault describes as "the entry of life into history" was neither a seamless nor unproblematic move. The development unleashed what he called a "new mode of relation between history and life" — a "dual position" — that placed life "at the same time outside of history, in its biological environment, and inside human historicity, penetrated by the latter's techniques of knowledge and power."46 This last sentence neatly summarises the contradictions and tensions that run to the core of biopower.47 It is as though the birth of biopower somehow captures life in an ambivalent fracture between biological determination and politically mediated existence. Although Foucault's gloss is hardly prolix it clearly does suggest that 43 Ibid.: 137. 44 Ibid.: 141, 139. 45 Ibid.: 142. 46 Ibid.: 143. Emphasis added. 4 7 It is clear that Agamben analysis is profoundly related to this last point, but nowhere does he quote Foucault's statement on the "new mode of relation between history and life." 13 modernity's investment in life is riven by tensions. Indeed, the introduction of a distinction between a life that is biologically determined and one that is politically qualified is very suggestive of how racial markings might interpose a violent logic on a life administering 48 power. The bare life of homo sacer For Giorgio Agamben biopower imposes a similar ordering that he describes as an "inclusive exclusion." Unlike Foucault, however, Agamben traces the genealogy of this paradox to Ancient Greece. The Greeks — unlike us — had no single word to refer to what we mean today by the term 'life.' Instead the Greeks distinguished between zoe: natural life and bios: politically qualified life. In other words, when classical political thinkers sought to define politics, they did so by setting it aside from natural life, which they thought of as an essentially private affair. The purpose of politics was therefore not simply life, but the attainment of the good or beautiful life. Only through political action could a good and truly human life be achieved.49 The point Agamben makes is that while these classical thinkers conceived of natural life as that which is outside the polis (the realm of politics), this natural life (zoe) is actually presupposed as that which must — at the same time — be excluded through its transformation (inclusion) into politically qualified life (bios). Hence natural life is, as it were, disavowed yet presupposed in biopolitics and it is this "inclusive exclusion" that enables the very existence of politics. J.M. Bernstein helpfully summaries Agamben's thinking on the legacy of Greek politics: "From the moment in which men began to institute truly political forms of society, there arose the necessity to marginalise the claims of animal happiness ...The emergence of the political requires the systematic severing of the authority of nature.. Severing the authority of nature, however, could not succeed if the claims of bare life were simply left outside the political, passed over and ignored. Rather, the fate of bare life was to be included in the polis through its exclusion ... For Agamben this structure of the inclusive exclusion of bare life is constitutive of Foucault pursues this logic more systematically in his lectures. Foucault. Society Must Be Defended, op. cit.: 239-263. See also Achille Mbembe. "Necropolitics." Public Culture 15.1 (2003): 11-40. 4 9 "From the beginnings of political thought a separation was drawn between the culturally elaborated normative authority of the good life for man and the mere fact of life, whose goodness appears not as an authoritative claim, but rather, like the weather or the charms of the palette, as a contingent occurrence beyond the governance of reason or the laws of society." Bernstein, op. cit.: 3. 14 not just the political, but the sovereign political as the deepest expression of western metaphysics."50 Here Agamben is radicalising Foucault's genealogy of sovereignty whereby "The sovereign ... evidenced his power over life only through the death he was capable of requiring."51 In Agamben's judgment "the first foundation of political life is a life that may be killed, which is politicized through its very capacity to be killed." Moreover, this twist on conventional definitions of sovereignty denotes that "the originary relation of law to life is not application but Abandonment."53 The law applies to life by no longer applying to it, by suspending itself. In the last instance the modern state, which is of course thoroughly vested in the principle of sovereignty, is not based on the constitution of a social contract, but on the latent power to "untie" all juridical obligations: "The [sovereign] tie itself originally has the form of an untying or exception in which what is captured is at the same time excluded, and in which human life is politicized only through an abandonment to an unconditional power of death."54 In other words, the modern state increasingly places human life at the centre of its political order, but that this placement (or inclusion) is also a displacement (or exclusion). This is the logic of the Greek polis writ large. This is where Agamben draws on Foucault and also departs from him. Like Foucault, the inclusion of life within politics produces a fracture (an inclusion and exclusion) but, in contradistinction to Foucault, he asserts "the production of bare life is the originary activity of sovereignty."55 This is important because Agamben's paradigmatic example of "bare life" — the life that is politicized through its capacity to be killed — is the ancient Roman figure of homo sacer (meaning sacred man). According to Agamben this obscure figure of Roman law represents a life that may be killed but not sacrificed: "homo sacer belongs to God in the form of unsacrificeability and is included in the community in the form of being able to be killed. Life 5 1 Foucault. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, op. cit.: 136. 5 2 Giorgio Agamben. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995: 89. Agamben (pace Foucault) does not consider biopower to be a distinctively modern form of power, nor as we'll see does he oppose biopower to sovereign power. See Derek Gregory. The Colonial Present. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004: 282 n43. 5 3 Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit: 29. 5 4 This is why Agamben cites Saint Paul as an epigraph to his book: "And the commandment, which was ordained unto life, I found to be unto death." Ibid.: 9, ix. 55 Ibid.: 83. 15 that cannot be sacrificed [excluded] and yet may be killed [included] is sacred life." Homo sacer is so resonant for Agamben because it embodies the paradox of bare life, a life drawn in an inclusive exclusion, or "state of exception," that makes sacrifice impossible but killing permissible. In the last instance, homo sacer represents a depotentiated "bare life" that can be killed without committing any crime — a phrase that has immediate resonance with the liminal status of famine deaths. To summarise, both Agamben and Foucault agree that the politicisation of natural life is the profound turning point in the history of western political theory. But for Foucault, "the conception of modernity < as biopolitics [involves] the transformation of the interest of the sovereign state from a power deciding over the life or death of those within its borders to an intrinsic concern with human life as such."58 Or as Mika Ojakangas helpfully glosses, with Foucault sovereignty organised around patria potestas gradually yields to a biopower animated by a life-administering maternus cura.59 With Agamben, however, sovereignty is not eclipsed but reaffirmed in the politicisation of bare life and its capacity to be killed. Agamben appears to defend what Foucault supposedly dismissed: "a persistent and illimitable sovereign power dealing death."60 Between limitless care and unconditional abandonment It should be obvious that when Agamben describes "killing" he does not mean simply murder as such, but like Foucault "every form of indirect murder: the fact of exposing someone to death, increasing the risk of death for some people, or quite simply, political death, expulsion, rejection, and so on." 6 1 This logic applies to many people today whose status as human beings makes killing them less than a crime. The spectre of the dispensable subject is present in warfare, for example, in the figure of the "civilian casualty," people killed or maimed not by any strict design as such, but because their lives and deaths are inconsequential. Similarly, and in a manner not unrelated to the present study, in a capitalist market when travesty befalls peoples 56 Ibid.: 82. In Remnants from Auschwitz Agamben extends homo sacer to the figure in Nazi camps known as the Muselmann. Agamben. Remnants of Auschwitz, op. cit. 5 7 Bruce Jennings. "The Liberalism of Life: Bioethics in the Face of Biopower." Raritan 22.4 (2003): 132-44. 5 8 Bernstein, op. cit.: 4. 5 9 Mika Ojakangas. "Impossible Dialogue: Agamben and Foucault." Foucault Studies 2 (2005): 5-28. 6 0 Peter Fitzpatrick. '"These Mad Abandon'd Times'." Economy and Society 30.2 (2001): 255; Peter Fitzpatrick. "Bare Sovereignty: Homo Sacer and the Insistence of Law." Theory and Event 5.2 (2001): 14. 6 1 Foucault. Society Must Be Defended, op. cit.: 256. 6 2 This formulation is taken from Noam Chomsky cited in Gregory, op. cit.: 70. 1 6 and ecologies outside of the "cash nexus" of buyer and seller, it is recognised (if at all) as a "market externality." How do we account for this violence that is so often devastating but apparently unaccountable? Indeed, it is possible to extrapolate this logic to consider the routine violence that characterises the experiences of internally displaced persons, stateless minorities, refugees, maquila workers, and famine victims — in other words, human lives exposed (often wilfully) to horrendous conditions that are very often fatal. Clearly then there is a real tension (that is beyond any merely theoretical dispute) between a life subject to limitless care and a life subject to unconditional abandonment. For instance, Maria Margaroni believes that Agamben's real insight is his attempt to account for the "un-heroic, unaccountable death" that marks the lives of so many unfortunates. As Margaroni argues Agamben is "trying to articulate a mode of bio-power that escaped Foucault, one emerging at the threshold between patria potestas (the sovereign's fatherly power over life and death) and what Ojakangas calls 'maternus cura' (the biopolitical maternal care for all living)." 6 4 It is this threshold between a life subject to unconditional violence and unconditional care that I think is so resonant to the historical unfolding of the Irish Famine. What I want to lay emphasis on in the dissertation is the ways in which prior to the Famine Irish life was increasingly incorporated into the apparatus of the state (the biopolitical work of colonialism and capitalism is therefore incredibly important) and, also, how during the Famine a whole series of laws, administrative measures and institutional regimes were introduced and operationalised. In other words, violent exposure to death occurred inside a sophisticated apparatus of care and direction: aid was controlled, diets were managed, institutions were built, laws were passed and ideologies mobilised. When the Times newspaper described government policy toward Ireland as a "trial by letting alone" they unwittingly grasped the fate of bare life For an insightful discussion of these themes in relation to the refugee see Jennifer Hyndman. Managing Displacement: Refugees and the Politics of Humanitarianism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. 6 4 Margaroni's summary is problematic. For instance she argues that Foucault's 'condemned man' in Discipline and Punish is condemned within the community as its member, whereas Agamben's homo sacer is characterised by his separation from the community: "His death is the result of his abandonment, not any sovereign decision over life and death." However, Agamben clearly states that abandonment — and the state of exception — are deeply imbued in the exercise of sovereignty (indeed Agamben's use of Carl Schmitt's definition of sovereignty runs throughout the book: "Sovereign is he who decides on the state of the exception." Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 11). Nevertheless, the tensions between care and abandonment which Margaroni emphasises are useful. Margaroni, op. cit.: 35. Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 11. 17 that is included through its exclusion and that is politicised through its capacity to be killed but not sacrificed.65 Biopower is thus a sort of tension film linking together yet holding apart patria potestas and maternus cura: pure violence and limitless care. The task is to assess how exclusion, on the one hand, and a "supervening and tentacular" inclusion on the other are correlated in and through biopower and how this correlation wrecks devastation on the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people.66 There is much more that one could say about biopower. Indeed the literature on the topic is now enormous. However, I want to limit myself to sketching four additional remarks regarding the critical use of this concept. In Agamben's rush to 'correct' Foucault's original sketch much of the latter's historical insistence is lost. This is especially true with regard to Foucault's important comment that biopower was an "indispensable element" in the political economy of capitalism. "The latter would not have been possible," Foucault writes, "without the controlled insertion of bodies into the machinery of production [anatomo-politics] and the f i 7 adjustment of the phenomena of the population to economic processes [biopolitics]." Not only does Agamben tend to ignore the intersections between capitalism and biopolitics (or at best, tends to perceive capitalism as a mere effect of biopower), he also seems to assign biopower a sort of transcendental essence that is deeply problematic.68 Secondly, both Foucault and Agamben discuss biopower as a technology capable of capturing 'life.' At times this all important 'life' seems rather nebulous and amorphous. In other words, both thinkers are shy in telling us how power targets specific populations (and not others in the same way) and how this' biopower might function in relation to gender, race and class.69 Certainly, Foucault is less guilty of this, and in his lectures at the College de France we get a glimpse of his assessment of race-within biopolitical modernity. Nonetheless, what is glaringly absent (perhaps understandably in what are after all lecture-sketches), is the material framework that racism must necessarily address. A project such as this cannot address all of these shortcomings, but it clearly must Cited in, Fegan, op. cit.: 37. 6 6 Fitzpatrick. "Bare Sovereignty", op. cit.: 1. 6 7 Foucault. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, op. cit.: 141. In general I think Agamben pays too little attention to the productive processes of capitalism and its links to biopower — but see his suggestive comments concerning homo laborans (after Hannah Arendt) and "bare life." Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 3-4. See also Brett Neilson. "Potenza Nuda? Sovereignty, Biopolitics, Capitalism." Contretemps 5 (2005): 63-78 6 8 Peter Fitzpatrick critiques Agamben's "enviably confident comparison[s]" between the archaic and the modern. Fitzpatrick. "'These Mad Abandon'd Times'.", op. cit.: 258. 6 9 Margaroni, op. cit.: 36. 7 0 Foucault. Society Must Be Defended, op. cit.: 239-263. 18 address some. In particular, if biopower is suggestive of society's capacity to abandon certain people to starvation or, in effect, disallow them to live, it must be remembered that hunger is a terror in its own right. Travelling through County Roscommon in 1847 Alexander Somerville described how "the people are literally crawling to their graves, their eyes starting in their heads 71 with stomach torture." Hunger terrorises particular lives, communities and ecologies. It is intensely material and this material factness cannot — must not — be forgotten. Thirdly, it should be noted that however reticent Foucault and Agamben are in regard to race as a political calculus of biopower, both have virtually nothing to say about colonialism. In Agamben's defence it might to be said that he is offering a philosophical thesis and not an historical recital. Nevertheless the last part of the book Homo Sacer elaborates the argument that totalitarian politics was biopolitics writ large and that the concentration camp — in so far as it was founded on the "state of exception" — was the most "pure, absolute, and impassable biopolitical space."74 It is curious, however, that Agamben begins this section of the book acknowledging that the first camps were in actual fact colonial camps (he names the example of the Boer war camps) and that one of the most obvious precedents for the "state of exception" is the proclamation of a "state of emergency" routinely declared in territories under colonial occupation.75 Although Agamben raises the matter, he fails to address its implications.76 Of 77 course this is not to draw an equation between totalitarianism and colonialism. Rather is to 7 1 Alexander Somerville. Letters from Ireland During the Famine of 1847. Ed. K.D.M. Snell. Dublin: IAP, 1994: 14. 7 2 Ann Stoler's research is exceptional in this regard. Ann Laura Stoler. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things. London: Duke University Press, 1995. 7 3 This is, more or less, Agamben's own words. See "Non au tatouage biopolitique." Le Monde 11 January 2004. 7 4 Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 123. 7 5 Nasser Hussain. The Jurisprudence of Emergency: Colonialism and the Rule of Law. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004. In the Irish context see Charles Townshend. "Martial Law: Legal and Administrative Problems of Civil Emergency in Britain and the Empire, 1800-1940." The Historical Journal 25.1 (1982): 167-95. 7 6 Giorgio Agamben. State of Exception. Trans. Kevin Attell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2005: 2. This neglect is doubly curious since Agamben is so obviously familiar with the work of Hannah Arendt who devotes a third of her justly renowned collection, On the Origins of Totalitarianism, to a history of imperialism. Agamben reproaches Arendt for ignoring the biopolitical in her study of totalitarianism. This is true, but to be fair, Arendt seriously engages with colonialism and capitalism — something Agamben fails to do. Other scholars have noted some of these oversights. In particular see Derek Gregory comments in Felix Driver, Steven Graham, Derek Gregory, Michael Watts. "Book Review Symposium." Progress in Human Geography 29.3 (2005): 351-380; Mbembe, op. cit.: 11-40; Gerry Kearns. "Bare Life, Political Violence and the Territorial Structure of Britain and Ireland." Inhuman Geographies/Spaces of Political Violence. Eds. Derek Gregory and Allan Pred. New York: Routledge, Forthcoming. 7 7 This caveat is also important because of the emotive and controversial use of the term "holocaust" to describe the Irish Famine. The earliest association I have discovered occurs in John O'Rourke's study, almost a half century before the Nazi death camps. In chapter twelve O'Rourke writes: "Every day, every hour produces its own victims — holocausts offered at the shrine of political economy." John O'Rourke. The History of the Great Irish Famine of 19 insist on the fact — generally omitted in the literature — that the historical geography of colonial-capitalism is also replete with disturbing examples of biopolitical regulation. One need only think of the influence of Malthusian and Darwinian theories in aiding the colonial state to seize 'life' at the population level (Malthus) and the species level (Darwin) and, of course, the severe consequences of this biopolitical fracture producing, as it did, the idea of "surplus" bodies and inferior races. These absences and omissions are essential to the development of my argument. Faminescapes "What confronts us today," Agamben writes, "is a life that as such is exposed to a violence no without precedent precisely in the most profane and banal ways." Faced with this knowledge "It would be more honest and, above all, more useful to investigate carefully the juridical procedures and deployments of power by which human beings could be so completely deprived of their rights and prerogatives that no act committed against them could appear any longer as a crime."79 The aim of the dissertation is to consider how this "abandonment" — which is in fact an "inclusive exclusion" — is politically achieved. How are human beings stripped of political status and reduced to the expendable figure of "bare life" so that their deaths do not constitute a crime? To begin to think through the implications of these questions, and how biopolitics relates to famine, means reworking many conventional theorisations, which tend to conceive famine as a failure, whether it be a failure of food production or the lack of food entitlements.80 Jenny Edkins argues that such theories do not entertain the thought that famines might be engineered from within the current politico-economic order.81 Developing the ideas of Amrita Rangasami, 1847, With Notices of Earlier Irish Famines. 3rd ed. Dublin: James Duffy, 1902 [available online at Project Gutenberg, EBook #14412 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14412/14412-8.txt] The complexities of the Famine/Holocaust analogy have been discussed in two illuminating articles. Liam Kennedy "Cry Holocaust: The Great Irish Famine and the Jewish Holocaust in History and Memory." Public Lecture University of Toronto February 3, 2005; Chris Morash. "Famine/Holocaust: Fragmented Bodies." Eire-Ireland 32.1 (1997): 136-50. 7 8 Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 114. 79 Ibid.: 171. 8 0 Edkins, op. cit.: 13. Edkins provides an important critique of Amartya Sen's influential research. See Amartya Sen. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlements and Deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981; Stephen Devereux. "Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-Critiques." Oxford Literary Review 29.3 (2001): 245-63. 8 1 Edkins, op. cit.: 13. 20 Edkins further argues that famines ought to be seen as "a protracted politico-social-economic process," a product of existing arrangements of power, rather than its breakdown. Taking this injunction seriously I prefer to address "faminescapes" rather than the notoriously slippery term "famine." The former term has a double conceptual advantage. Firstly, it stresses that the word "famine" is a verb as well as a noun. Like other social phenomenon it is produced in and through particular performances — that is specific expressions and actions that constitute new states (including dearth, famishment, rightlessness, and mortality) through specific iterations. Secondly, it is hoped that the term "faminescapes" expresses the fact that these seemingly 'abstract' theorisations have, in the last instance, very real geopolitical coordinates. Famines are not only acutely corporal. They are also rooted in — and routed through — spaces that are material, imagined, and techno-political. Again the emphasis here is not on space as a 'container' of famines, but on the designation of space as a strategy of social control. In the chapters that follow I try to show that "faminescapes" were produced on at least three levels in nineteenth-century Ireland. This triumvirate will be employed throughout and so it makes sense to clarify terminology here. 1. DISCURSIVE. It has been claimed that Great Irish Famine was the first ever media famine — an event that was not only rehearsed but defined in the media. This interesting proposition prompts several others. In the first place, a number of studies have analysed how racial and cultural stereotyping can influence government decision-making. 82 Ibid.: 14. It is clear that Edkins's approach also owes much to the work of Foucault and Agamben. See especially Jenny Edkins. Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. 8 3 On definitions and perceptions of famine see Paul Howe. "Reconsidering 'Famine'." IDS Bulletin 33.4 (2002): 19-27; Alex de Waal. Famine That Kills: Darfur, Sudan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005: 9-32. 8 4 The definition I offer next is helped by Judith Butler who writes that "gender is not a noun, but neither is it a set of free-floating attributes, for we have seen that the substantive effect of gender is performatively produced and compelled by regulatory practices of gender coherence. Hence ... gender proves to be performative — that is, constituting the identity it is purported to be. Judith Butler. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999: 33. Homi Bhabha employs "the performance of identity as iteration" to analyse subjectivities in colonial contexts. Homi Bhabha. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994: 9.1 am also borrowing from David Lloyd's elaborations. David Lloyd. "After History: Histpricism and Irish Postcolonial Studies." Ireland and Postcolonial Theory. Eds. Clare Carroll and Patricia King. Notre Dame: .University of Notre Dame Press, 2003: 46-62 (see especially page 199fn 21). For a clear overview of the uses of performance in geography see Catherine Nash. "Performitivity in Practice: Some Recent Work in Cultural Geography." Progress in Human-Geography 24.4 (2000): 653-64 8 5 Henri Lefebvre. 77ie Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. 21 Building on this research I want to broadly consider how discursive acts of inscriptions are connected to state regimes of intervention. How did pre-Famine portrayals of the Irish affect government strategies and did colonial stereotypes influence the administration of famine relief? In examining the production of instrumental knowledges — knowledges directed toward more effective government — I question how a monopoly on truth is assumed and the consequences for those who are considering incapable of representing themselves.86 2. INSTITUTIONAL. Famines are invariably played out in some form of institutional context. Irish hunger was governed through a number of institutional landscapes including the Poor Law workhouses, Soup Kitchens and Public Work schemes. In particular I explore how these relief programmes became vast experiments in the state control of "bare life." In other words, I want to analyse the extent to which the machinery of famine relief became an important technology of biopower. How did certain spaces facilitate the deployment of power? 3. POLITICO-JURIDICAL. As I state above the task is to understand how a position of extreme rightlessness is imposed and maintained. How are certain people stripped of political status and reduced to bare life? 8 7 Here I want to consider how acts of "politicide" are QQ intimately connected to capitalist-colonial acts of subjugation. Capitalist-colonialism is implicated in biopower in so far as it involves the state extending its sovereignty over peoples and territories beyond its borders. As Mbembe has noted: "correlated to the new geography of resource extraction is the emergence of an unprecedented form of governmentality that consists in the management of the multitudes." This management clearly involves an extension of power over the human being's capacity to labour. How is "bare life" made manifest in the abject figure of the redundant labourer and the racialised figure of the subaltern? And how does this logic produce a radically rightless human being? Arundhati Roy insists that there is no such thing as 'the voiceless' only the wilfully silenced and the preferably unheard. Arundhati Roy. "Peace? Speech on Accepting the Sydney Peace Prize." ZNet November 7, 2004. 8 7 Agamben. Homo Sacer, op. cit.: 171. 8 8 I borrow the term "politicide" from the Israeli historian Baruch Kimmerling, cited in Tariq Ali. The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity. London: Verso, 2003: xxiii. 22 These three levels — rhetorical, institutional and politico-juridical — examine how the Irish population were discursively constructed, institutionally managed, and political and legally controlled and how this story relates to the unfolding of the Great Irish Famine. Dissertation outline Chapter one "Acts of Union" begins with an examination of Ireland's colonial status. In this chapter I make the case that the colonial experience is pivotal — not incidental — to Irish history. In particular I want to show how the making and taking of space (politically, socially, and economically) is directly relevant to the loss of life during the Irish Famine. Running through the chapter is the idea that the colonial production and seizure of space necessitated various "acts of union" — serial performances which attempt to make good an original claim of possession. The larger argument is that there is a real evolution in colonial governance toward biopolitics and more careful methods of superintending Irish life, land and resources. These developments were largely at the expense of the majority of Irish people who were by the eighteen-forties extraordinarily vulnerable. Chapter two "Making Up People: Routines and Routines in the Production of Colonial Space" offers a critical account of how contemporaries responded to the scene of pre-Famine Irish life and how a rhetorical space opened up between 'the satiated' 'the emaciated' that disabled empathy and rationalised a death-dealing orthodoxy. In other words, it is an attempt to examine a rhetorical faminescape. I pay particular attention to how contemporary travel writing, political pamphleteering and the government commissions tackled the issue of Irish poverty. The chapter is intended as an analysis of popular geopolitics, one that takes seriously Amartya Sen contention that "The sense of difference between ruler and ruled — between 'us' and 'them' — is a crucial feature of famines."90 I explore this claim by focusing on how instrumental knowledges about Ireland and the Irish are produced. These knowledges try to make Irish life increasingly visible so that it might be more governable. Similar to modern scientific knowledge they attempt to "bring distant objects close to hand, rendering these transported objects manipulable and predictable."91 As such these knowledges are replete with Mokyr builds the concept of vulnerability into his analysis of the pre-Famine economy by questioning to what extent poverty reduced people's ability to cope with "exogenous shocks." Mokyr, op. cit. 9 0 Sen. Development as Freedom, op. cit.: 175. 9 1 W.T. Murphy cited in, Peter Fitzpatrick. '"These Mad Abandon'd Times'.", op. cit.: 267. 23 "techniques which replace absence with presence [and] difference as distance with identity as proximity." In fact, the colonisation of life by knowledge is actually structured like the "inclusive exclusion," which brings life under its gaze, but not without mapping distinctions between the governed and governing — those who represent and those who are incapable of representing themselves. In chapter three, 'The Administration of Hunger," I begin by discussing the drafting and implementation of an Irish Poor which was established in 1838, four years after the overhaul of the English poor law and just seven years prior to the first appearance of Phythophthora Infestans. This discussion connects the rhetorical constructions previously discussed with the vast social experiments in managing Irish poverty. After discussing the development of the Irish Poor Law I critically explore how the government responded to the appearance of blight in Ireland. As mentioned above, a plethora of institutional spaces — and legislative initiatives — were designed to address the problem of Irish hunger. A major part of this response involved the co-opting of the Poor Law as a famine relief strategy which had very severe consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable sections of Irish society. The larger argument is that the government's relief arrangements enabled the state to virtually monopolise the means of subsistence for vast numbers of people and thus assume control over a radically depotentiated form of life. In other words, the government of relief slowly merged with the political regulation of "bare life." The emphasis on regulation is quite deliberate since I also argue that the aid structures were increasingly bound up with long term goals aimed at radically restructuring Irish society. The colonial prerogatives of improvement were amalgamated with government relief measures. The final chapter, "Rationalising Disaster: Thomas Carlyle and the Irish Question," returns to the theme of discursive management during the Irish Famine examining Thomas Carlyle's journeys in Ireland. Carlyle's opinions on Ireland are significant for three reasons. First, the timing of his visits is immediately striking. Carlyle travelled Ireland in 1846 and again in 1849. These dates profile the beginning and the deadly culmination of the Great Irish Famine, and Carlyle's response to these different famine landscapes is important. Secondly, even granting the abundance of Victorian tours in Ireland, it is difficult to find an equal to the person reverently referred to as the "Chelsea sage." Carlyle was a respected Victorian figure and what he has to say about Ireland would command attention. Thirdly, Carlyle did not travel 24 Ireland alone. The well-known nationalist Charles Gavan Duffy accompanied Carlyle on both occasions. Duffy also published his own version of their sojourn which offers a vivid counterpoint to Carlyle's perspective. A close reading of their journey (and subsequent arguments) might help us understand how particular political rationalities are forged at the "contact zone" of two cultures., Finally this chapter also considers Carlyle's shift from being a critic of laissez faire to being a defender of property, arguing that this move parallels his propensity to qualify human value through environmental and racial readings of the Famine. I suggest that such calculations take us into the domain of biopower and capitalist political economy, perhaps the two most powerful forces directing the course of the Irish Famine Conclusion Discussing my research with friends and colleagues I have often been asked why we need another book on the Irish Famine. The question is perhaps a reflection of other currents. Following the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Famine some media pundits complained that we had arrived at a new nadir of 'famine fatigue.' Why are we still talking and writing about the event? I must admit that I find such comments remarkable in their condescension. Not to mention the fact that so much about the Irish Famine experience remains hidden or i l l -understood there is the obvious fact that we live in a world in which the spectre of starvation and routine malnutrition continue to haunt a depressingly large portion humanity. If "famine is conquerable" as de Waal and others insist then the figures released by the United Nations' World Food Programme (cited above) are a strong indictment of our current political systems. How is so much of humanity still exposed to such violence? de Waal has recently suggested that contemporary famines are an important legacy of the nineteenth century thinking.94 It seems worth looking at this legacy a little longer. In the following essays my aim is to bring another perspective to the study of the Irish Famine. Besides forays with new archival materials there have been a number of bold efforts to shift the theoretical lens on the Famine. Cormac 6 Grada's use of Amartya Sen's entitlements theory is notable in this respect, as is Stuart McLean's clever reading of Walter Benjamin to 9 2 Mary Louise Pratt coins the phrase "contact zone" to signify: "social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of domination and subordination." Mary Louise Pratt. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992: 4. 9 3 Alex de Waal. Famine Crimes, op. cit.: 1. 9 4 Alex de Waal. Famine That Kills, op. cit. 25 throw new light on how the Famine has been appropriated by History. One might also mention the interpretations contained in Chris Morash and Richard Hayes' edited collection 'Fearful Realities': New Perspectives on the Famine?6 A n d indeed much more besides. M y own research builds from these and other efforts to engage with the Irish past in alternative ways. This dissertation does not — and cannot — lay claim to being an exhaustive treatment of the pre-Famine and famine period. I am especially aware that Irish acts of resistance are almost entirely absent from the following discussion. This is not because I want to render invisible the agency of the Irish or indeed their attempts to solve their own problems, but because the function of this dissertation is to explain the role of 'government' in the management of hunger and not the history of the Irish Famine per se. Moreover it is worth bearing in mind that Cecil Woodham-Smith spent ten years researching her pioneering book The Great Hunger (1962). Nowadays scholars are producing comprehensive tomes on the role of the Catholic Church during the eighteen forties or on the internal dynamics of the British QQ parliamentary parties in that same period. Indeed, this short but very tragic period of Irish history is now a major research specialism in its own right. A l l the same there has been no attempt to apply Foucault's insights to the Irish Famine and indeed very little attempt to engage with his writings in Irish Studies more generally. The lacuna is perhaps surprising given the recent interest in Irish postcolonial studies and the influence of discourse analysis more generally." Indeed, it seems to me that Foucauldian critiques attentive to how histories are 9 5 Cormac 6 Grada. Black '47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999; Stuart McLean. The Event and Its Horrors: Ireland, Famine, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. For discussion on entitlements and the Irish Famine see also David Fitzpatrick. "Famine, Entitlements and Seduction: Captain Edmund Wynne in Ireland, 1846-1851." The English Historical Review 110.437 (1995): 596-619; Peter Solar. "The Great Famine Was No Ordinary Subsistence Crisis." Famine: The Irish Experience, 900-1900, Subsidence Crises and Irish Famines. Ed. E. Magaret Crawford. Edinburgh: Jond Donald Publishers, 1989. 112-33. 9 6 Chris Morash and Richard Hayes, eds. 'Fearful realities': New Perspectives on the Famine. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1996. 9 7 There is also the common assumption that famines generally foster conditions of apathy and not resistance. This assumption does not hold for Ireland in the eighteen-forties. Nevertheless, I think there is some truth to Hannah Arendt's assertion: "It is no doubt possible to create conditions under which men are de-humanized — such as concentration camps, torture, famine — but this does not mean that they become animal-like; and under such conditions, not rage and violence, but their conspicuous absence is the clearest sign of de-humanization." Hannah Arendt. On Violence, op. cit.: 63. 9 8 Donal A . Kerr. The Catholic Church and the Famine. Dublin: Columbia Press, 1996; Donal A . Kerr. A Nation of Beggars?: Priests, People, and Politics in Famine Ireland, 1846-1852. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994; Peter Gray. Famine, Land and Politics: British Government and Irish Society, 1843-1850. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1999. 9 9 For critical discussion see Claire Connolly. "Theorising Ireland." Irish Studies Review 9.3 (2001): 301-15; Graham, Colin. "Liminal Spaces: Post-Colonial Theories and Irish Culture." Irish Review 16 (1994): 29-43; Gerry 26 forged through systems of production, modalities of representation and regimes of power, are particularly well-suited to interrogating the 'silent violence' of famine. The moral imperative raised by famine is an increased intervention in the realm of "bare life." This is precisely why famine relief is very closely linked to development a id . 1 0 0 According to de Waal, Georg Simmel captured the problem very well when "He identified the de facto (European) definition of the power as those to whom we give assistance, avowedly to correct their position, but in fact to prevent them from correcting their position for themselves." 1 0 1 The famished, like the poor, are embodiments of "bare life" inclusively excluded through acts of charity and relief that are, in the last instance, regimes of correction and acts of political violence. Moreover when these efforts in correction go wrong the consequences are very often enormous for the underprivileged and inconsequential for the powerful. As Noam Chomsky has said: "There have been quite a few experiments in economic development in the modern era, and though it is doubtlessly wise to be wary of sweeping generalisations, still they do exhibit some regularities that are hard to ignore. One is that the designers seem to come out quite well, though the experimental subjects, who rarely sign consent forms, quite often take a beating." 1 0 2 The following essays are an initial effort to begin thinking in this direction. K e a r n s . " I re land after T h e o r y . " Bulldn: An Irish Studies Journal 6 (2002) : 107-14; D a v i d L l o y d . " C u l t u r a l T h e o r y and I re land ." Bullan: An Irish Studies Journal 3.1 (1997) : 8 7 - 9 2 ; G e r r y S m y t h . " I r i sh Studies , P o s t c o l o n i a l T h e o r y and the ' N e w ' E s s e n t i a l i s m . " Irish Studies Review 7 .2 (1999) : 2 1 1 - 2 0 . 1 0 0 M a r k D u f f i e l d . " G o v e r n i n g the B o r d e r l a n d s : D e c o d i n g the P o w e r o f A i d . " Disasters 25.4 (2001) : 308 -20 ; M a r k D u f f i e l d . " H u m a n i t a r i a n Intervent ion: T h e N e w A i d P a r a d i g m and the Separate D e v e l o p m e n t . " New Political Economy 2.2 (1997) : 3 3 6 - 4 1 . 1 0 1 A l e x de W a a l . Famine That Kills, op. cit.: 32 . See G e o r g S i m m e l . " T h e P o o r . " Social Problems 13.2 (1965): 118-40 . 1 0 2 N o a m C h o m s k y . "Free Trade and F ree M a r k e t s : Pretense and Prac t i ce . " 77ie Cultures of Globalization. E d s . F r e d e r i c J ameson and M a s a o M i y o s h i . D u r h a m : D u k e U n i v e r s i t y Press , 1999: 357 . 27 Chapter One Acts of Union "Colonial occupation itself was a matter of seizing, delimiting, and asserting control over a physical geographical area — of writing on the ground a new set of social and spatial relations. The writing of new spatial relations (territorialization) was, ultimately, tantamount to the production of boundaries and hierarchies, zones and enclaves; the subversion of existing property arrangements; the classification ,of people according to different categories; resource extraction; and, finally, the manufacturing of a large reservoir of cultural imaginaries." — Achille Mbembe, "Necropolises." 'The mass of the people struggle against the same poverty, flounder about making the same gestures and with their shrunken bellies outline what has been called the geography of hunger." — Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. Introduction It is important to distinguish Victorian attitudes toward Ireland and the Irish from those of previous centuries. After all in situations of structured, continuous contact it seems reasonable to expect an array of dispositions, attitudes and perceptions, not to mention different tactics of domination and counter-strategies of subversion.1 However, the analysis of such differences will inevitably throw up some continuity, and here the researcher is presented with a number of difficulties. Significantly, studies of the immediate pre-Famine period are not as common as one might expect and among the studies available there are very few accounts that position the Famine within a historical geography of colonialism. In 1975 Peter Gibbon declared: "The occasion for all this [suffering] is well known — successive failures of the potato crop, the stable diet of half the population. Less well known are the circumstances in which this situation arose, and their relation to British colonialism."2 Precisely twenty years later, marking the sesquicentennial commemoration of the blight, Kevin Whelan could still assert that the "colonial context ... [is] too often ignored in our recent analyses of nineteenth-century Irish 1 Mary Louise Pratt. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992. 2 Peter Gibbon. "Colonialism and the Great Starvation in Ireland 1845-9." Race & Class 17.2 (1975): 131-39. 28 life."3 Since then a good deal of work has been done to address this oversight. In particular the diverse writings associated with the Field Day Company are noteworthy.4 By and large, however, the contemporary historical opinion on the Famine has been little affected, a fact which at least partially reflects the fractious and ongoing debate regarding the applicability of colonial models to Irish history more generally.5 It must seem a little odd, then, that Cecil Woodham-Smith's The Great Hunger (the most popular account of the Famine and possibly the most popular Irish history book of all time), frames the Famine in relation to Ireland's political subjugation.6 In fact one could argue that it is precisely this focus that some historians find so jarring. For instance it is often implicit in revisionist scholarship that the historical legacy of the Famine is a sort of false consciousness resulting from an unhealthy reliance on a small but vocal coterie of nationalist writers. Liam Kennedy, for instance, critiques the nationalist mythology of "incomparable oppression" of which the Great Famine plays a central role.7 Published in 1962, The Great Hunger is Q sometimes seen as exemplary of this mythological tradition. For example, D.G. Boyce has said 3 Kevin Whelan. "Pre and Post-Famine Landscape Change." The Great Irish Famine. Ed. Cathal Poirteir.' Dublin: Mercier Press, 1995: 33. 4 Field Day began with the founding of the Field Day Theatre Company (1980) by playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea. The company's first production was Friel's play Translations. What began as an artistic collaboration became a politico-cultural project designed to question the stultifying stereotypes of 'the Troubles' in Northern Ireland and notions of cultural identity more generally. In 1990 the Field Day commissioned a series of pamphlets by three prominent scholars — Terry Eagleton, Frederic Jameson and Edward Said — who have all made significant contributions to literary criticism, history, politics, cultural studies and postcolonial theory. See Terry Eagleton, Frederic Jameson and Edward Said. Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1990. The company also launched The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 5 volumes (1991-2002), and a number of important monographs as part of its Critical Conditions series (1996-present). Most recently (Spring 2005) Field Day launched a new peer review journal called Field Day Review under the editorship of Seamus Deane and Breandan Mac Suibhne. 5 For debate see Stephen Howe. Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000; Liam Kennedy. Colonialism, Religion, and Nationalism in Ireland. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 1996. For a critique of Howe see Gerry Kearns. "Ireland after Theory." Bulldn: An Irish Studies Journal 6 (2002): 107-14. For Kennedy see David Lloyd. "After History: Historicism and Irish Postcolonial Studies." Ireland and Postcolonial Theory. Eds. Clare Carroll and Patricia King. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003. 46-62. Perhaps the best survey is Kevin Kenny, ed. Ireland and the British Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. See also Clare Carroll and Patricia King, eds. Ireland and Postcolonial Theory. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003; Terrence McDonough, ed. Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005; Keith Jeffery, ed. An Irish Empire: Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996. 6 Cecil Woodham-Smith. The Great Hunger. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1962. 7 Kennedy, op. cit.: 217. Significantly Kennedy's own book hardly mentions the Great Famine (it is not cited in the author's subject index) and his chapter oh the "Union of Ireland and Britain, 1801-1921" virtually skips over the disaster. 8 In 1963, for instance, undergraduate students at the Department of History, University College Dublin, were assigned the question: "The Great Hunger is a great novel. Discuss." Cormac O Grada. The Great Irish Famine. London: Macmillan, 1989: 11. There is now huge, broad and often rancorous debate on revisionism from which a post-revisionist school has emerged. See Roy Foster. "We Are All Revisionists Now'." The Irish Review 1 (1986): 29 that "writers as diverse as Cecil Woodham Smith and the IRA leader, Ernie O'Malley, shared a common view of the Famine as a kind of genocide."9 Boyce's "kind o f is a weasel phrase. In fact, Woodham-Smith rejects the "genocide—race murder" interpretation of the Famine, and does so explicitly. But even less polemical assessments tend to attribute too much to Woodham-Smith's gripping narrative. It must not be forgotten that colonial and anti-colonial narratives were contemporaneous with the Famine and not simply the product of later historical work. Moreover, Woodham-Smith's conclusions are, in some instances, far more moderate than her detractors might like to suggest (see Box 1.1). Nevertheless, until quite recently, historical interpretations loosely following Woodham-Smith's research were characteristically derided as 'emotive,' a rather unfair tag which performs the double-task of dismissing these narrative whilst promoting other, presumably more objective accounts. Box 1.1 Famine, historiography and the politics of anachronism W o o d h a m - S m i t h adopts a w ide l y used f o r m o f apologet ics lha l wo might ca l l the po l i t ics o f anachron ism. Rather than suggest that nature was to b lame, or thai famine was inevi table, many histor ians c la im lhaL i l is ' unh is io r i cu l ' to judge pa.st generations accord ing to present cr i ter ia. T h i s v iew is c lear ly seduct ive. For instance. M a r y D a l y wri tes that "it does not appear appropriate to pronounce in an undulv c i i t i ca l Cushion on the l imitat ions o f previous gene ra t i ons . " " Peter C r a y (by no stretch o f the IPIBIIIP^ iife'il^  ^ imaginat ion a "revisionist") bel ieves thai 1 "H is to r ians risk falLiim into siross anachron ism in attempting to pass judgement on long-dead i nd i v i dua l s . ' Margaret C raw lord also asserts: " to bel ieve it | lhe Br i t i sh • l l l l l p l ^ government] cou ld have interfered wi th pr ivate markets is s imp ly anachronist ic ." ' 1 " L i k e w i s e W o o d h a m -S m i t h concludes The Great Hunger w i th the f o l l o w i n g caveat: ' T h e eighteen-fort ies, however , must not be judged by the standards ol" today; and whatever pars imony and cal lousness the Br i t i sh Government d isp layed towards I re land, was para l le led seven years later by the treatment ol" their own sold iers wh ich brought about the destruct ion o f the Br i t i sh A r m y in the C r i m e a . " 1 ' 1-5. For critique see Kevin Whelan. '"Come All You Staunch Revisionists': Towards a Post-Revisionist Agenda for Irish History." The Irish Reporter 2 (1991): 23-26; Terry Eagleton. "Welcome to Blarneyworld" The Guardian October 27, 2001. 9 D.G Boyce. Nineteenth-Century Ireland: The Search for Stability. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1990: 122-23. See Woodham-Smith, op. cit.: 405. See also Box 1.1. 1 0 Cited in, Terry Eagleton. Heathcliff and the Great Hunger: Studies in Irish Culture. London: Verso, 1995: 22. 11 In the same article Peter Gray concludes that: "The charge of culpable neglect of the consequences of policies leading to mass starvation is indisputable. That a conscious choice to pursue moral or economic objectives at the expense of human life was made by several ministers is also demonstrable." Of course, the difficulty in squaring Gray's two sentences is partly my point. Peter Gray. "Ideology and the Famine." The Great Irish Famine. Ed. Cathal Poirteir. Dublin: Mercier Press, 1995: 87, 103. 1 2 E. Margaret Crawford. "Food and Famine." The Great Irish Famine. Ed. Cathal Poirteir. Dublin: Mercier Press, 1995: 64. 1 3 Woodham-Smith, op. cit:. 405. 30 There are in fact two charges o f anachron ism here. The f irst relates to ev idence and the second pertains to h istor ical judgement, al though they are both c lear ly related. Fo r instance the c l a i m that it is " s i m p l y anachron is t i c " to.say the government cou ld have interfered with the markets is on ly tenable i f one ' ignores/a vast bpdyjpf iev idehce which.demonstrates very direct interference in the markets in favour ilipfiiiillll o fp rope r t y : In other words; thexharge o f anachron ism i.s not supported bv the ev idence. Mo reove r , the charge o f anachron ism pertaining to acts o f histor ical judgement is also prob lemat ic . There i.s the c lear .suggestion that wc should be less cr i t ical o f ideologies that were populu i l } endorsed >uch as laissez fairc. Howeve r , this moral tc lu t iv i iy is unhelpfu l . Shou ld we equal ly excuse slavery because o l the p rominence o f racist th ink ing ' ' Mo reove r , a l a purely h istor ical level it is d i f f i cu l t to square c la ims o f anachron ism (in "'attempting lo pass judgement " ) wi th contemporary expressions o f mora l outrage as the F a m i n e unfo lded. Fo r example , ihe contemporary Eng l i sh wr i ter Spencer Ha lhquest ioned " i s not such annih i la t ion, i f i l cou ld be prevented and is not. national murder?"" ' ' T rave l l i ng through some of the poorest parts o f Ireland in 1X47. W i l l i a m E d w a r d 1'orsler noled in his Piiiiiiiiiilllliiiw diary that the landlords "as a class ... are unable to keep their peasantry a l ive . The i r b lood , therefore, w i l l be at the doors o f al l of us who. he ing able, are unw i l l i ng to he lp . " 1 ' ' La ter he pronounced that: " N o one o f us can have a right to enjoy ei ther r iches or repose unt i l , to the extent o f his ab i l i ty , he tries to wash h imse l f o f al l share in the gui l t o f this fearful inequal i ty , wh i ch w i l l be blot in the history o f our country l and lmake ihe f . a bywo rd amonu the nations " l h S .C i .O Osborne felt that " T h e Br i t ish l ion has indeed here so mangy an appearance, thai every Br i ton o f c o m m o n decency wou ld have inc l ined to d i sc l a im al l | :!jjf!:*Sl|^ connect ion wi th the unhappy a n i m a l . " 1 7 Wha teve r else such statements say, they are a fair reminder thai cr i t ica l judgements were never the exc lus ive prov ince o f Irish nationalists. T o p roc la im " w h o are we to judge them?" is a lways a pol i t ica l ly loaded quest ion. T h i s is as true today as it wou ld have been in the eighleen- for t ics. Indeed it is anachronist ic to suddenly forget this fact. O f c o u r s e there are e x c e p t i o n s . I h a v e a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d the w r i t i n g s o f F i e l d D a y w h i c h are e x c e p t i o n a l l y a t t e n t i v e to the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f c o l o n i a l i s m . B e y o n d t h i s g r o u p o f s c h o l a r s , h i s t o r i a n s J a m e s D o n n e l l y , P e t e r G r a y , C h r i s t i n e K i n e a l y a n d K e r b y M i l l e r h a v e a l l p u b l i s h e d r e s e a r c h w h i c h e x p l o r e s , s o m e t i m e s d i r e c t l y , t h o u g h m o r e o f t e n i m p l i c i t l y , the r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n c o l o n i a l i s m a n d the I r i s h F a m i n e . I n p a r t i c u l a r K i n e a l y ' s A Death-Dealing Famine, w r i t e s the h i s t o r y o f t h e e i g h t e e n - f o r t i e s b a c k i n t o a s t o r y o f " d i s p o s s e s s i o n a n d Spencer T. Hall. Life and Death in Ireland: As Witnessed in 1849. Manchester England: J.T. Parkes, 1850: 79 1 5 T.W. Reid. Life of the Right Honourable William Edward Forster, Vol I. London: Chapman and Hall Limited, 1888: 196. 16 Ibid.: 198. 1 7 Sidney Godolphin Osborne. Gleanings in the West of Ireland. London: Boone, 1850: 51. 31 disunity," and a recent chapter in the excellent book Was Ireland a Colony? adds more depth to her earlier assessment.18 Significantly, none of these interventions have prompted anything like the ridicule directed at Woodham-Smith.19 Indeed, the return of the repressed is noted by Kinealy, who adds, quite correctly, that recent publications on the Famine have come a lot closer to agreeing with many of Woodham-Smith's original conclusions. Even so a great deal of theoretical and substantive work remains to be done. The Great Hunger was published in 1962 before the great wave of decolonisation in the non-European world and the advent of postcolonial studies as a vibrant research field in its own right. Meanwhile in Ireland the sesquicentennial commemorations have come and gone and despite professions of 'famine fatigue' we are still without a substantial monograph that addresses the Famine as a colonial experience. This chapter does not — and cannot — attempt to redress this fact, but it does make the case that an understanding of how space is historically produced and seized is directly relevant to the tremendous loss of life during the Irish Famine. It has of course been said (by Joel Mokyr) that the unprecedented upheaval in landownership, particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth-centuries, had a precipitous impact on nineteenth-century Irish life. 2 1 What is lacking, however, is a thorough understanding of how presumably past colonial actions of politico-military violence continued to impact Irish livelihoods in the nineteenth-century. True, colonialism is always about the taking and plundering of territory, but these aims are achieved by remarkably different means. It is important, therefore, to understand the various ways in which Ireland became what Foucault would call a "field of intervention" for English and later British colonisation.22 There is, as Terry Eagleton has said, "a question about different levels or Christine Kinealy. "Was Ireland a Colony? The Evidence of the Great Famine." Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Ed. Terrence McDonough. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005. 48-65. 1 9 Christine Kinealy. A Death-Dealing Famine: The Great Hunger in Ireland. London: Pluto Press, 1997. 20 Ibid.: 156. 2 1 Joel Mokyr. Why Ireland Starved: A Quantitative and Analytical History of the Irish Economy, 1800-1850. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983: 2, 286-287. Ruth Dudley Edwards, and Bridget Hourican An Atlas of Irish History. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2005: 159-161 2 2 Michel Foucault. "Governmentality." Trans. Robert Hurley and others. Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984; Volume Three: Power. Ed. James D. Faubion. New York: The New York Press, 1994: 201-22. 32 dimensions to colonialisation." The historical development of colonial governance in pre-Famine Ireland is precisely what I want to explore in this chapter.24 In what follows I prioritises three colonial moments in particular: the foundation of the Pale, the plantations and confiscations during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the Act of Union in 1801. I describe these 'colonial moments' as iterative performances — or "acts of union" — that attempt to make good an original claim of possession.25 What is 'possessed' here is obviously of the utmost importance. The Pale, for instance, produced a barbarous race that lay quite literally "beyond the law" but which were subsequently 'included' through the extension of English jurisdiction. The plantations and confiscations during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were justified by appealing to an uncivilised Irish or 'Old English' culture and its potentially corrosive effect on central government.26 The extension of Crown control Terry Eagleton. "Afterword: Ireland and Colonialism." Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Ed. Terrence McDonough. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005: 328. 2 4 "Most historians would concur that the history of modern Ireland has been intimately associated with that of the British Empire," as Stephen Howe has said, but beyond that basic agreement "there is wide, often deep, sometimes bitter dispute." Cited in, Kenny, op. cit.: 2. As stated above, I am not unaware of this dispute. However it seems to me that Kevin Kenny is right in pointing out that there is no such thing as a typical colony: the British Empire evolved and changed, as did its relationship to its colonies — Ireland included. Here it is also worth extracting Joep Leerssen's comments on the matter: Although Ireland cannot be called simply a 'colony' like, for instance, the Spanish colonies in the New World or the Dutch colonies in the East Indies, Tudor policy in Ireland was certainly inspired by colonialist attitudes, and often looked towards Spanish policy in America for inspiration. The status of Ireland as kingdom, with a parliament (albeit one excluding, on various counts, native representation) is the main difference between Ireland and a colony proper. But in other respects (the expropriation of the land, its distribution among immigrant settlers, the social establishment of these settlers as a new ruling class, the submission of the native population both in social and economic terms, their employment as providers of cheap labour, the subordination of the country's internal economic interests to those of the 'mother country') Ireland did have the character of a colony. Plantation policy even in its nomenclature had a colonial connotation - the English colonies in North America were also known as plantations. And although slavery as such was not established in Ireland, the actual position of the labouring population in rural areas, especially under the penal laws of the eighteenth century, was one of complete social and economic dependence on the landlord, and lacking most elementary civic privileges. Isolated instances of slave deportations, e.g. to the West Indies, occurred during the Cromwellian -v settlement. Joep Leerssen. Mere Irish, Fior Gael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, Its Development and Literary Expression Prior to the Nineteenth Century. Cork: Cork University Press, 1996: 387-388 footnote 12. 2 5 Tracing the geopolitical and cultural configurations that thread diverse 'colonial moments' — giving them a performative force — has proven a useful way of understanding colonial power structures in different geographical contexts and around multiple temporalities. Following Edward Said, Derek Gregory has called this "contrapuntal geography." Derek Gregory. The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. See also Derek Gregory. "Edward Said's Imaginative Geographies." Thinking Space. Eds. Nigel Thrift and Mike Crang. London: Routledge, 2000: 302-48. 2 6 Jane Ohlmeyer. '"Civilizinge of Those Rude Parts': Colonization within Britain and Ireland, 1580s-1640s." The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume One: The Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Nicholas Canny. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: 127. 33 thus posited an indigenous population that was to be "inclusively excluded" through Anglicisation. In a similar way, the Act of Union which became law in 1801 made Ireland a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. However, through political legerdemain the Catholic majority were politically disenfranchised leaving them especially vulnerable to the precipitous effects of economic amalgamation with the world's most advanced industrial nation. I want to show that these very different colonial actions actually extended powers hold over life, in ways that are obviously different in terms of immediate circumstance, violent intensity, political mentality and so forth, but similar in presupposing (and inclusively excluding) ways of life that are deemed to be dangerous or wretchedly different. To the extent that this is true, 'colonialisation' may be said to work on "bare life," which is to say a life of 97 radical rightlessness. In the pre-Famine decades the utter wretchedness of Irish life and the perilous position of the Irish peasant in particular, is vividly portrayed by government officials, economists, and travel writers. I will examine these accounts in some detail in the next chapter since they offer an important glimpse at Irish conditions, contemporary thought on poverty and race as well as politico-economic prescriptions for relieving what public intellectuals euphemistically referred to as the 'Irish Question.' Writing within the socialist tradition, however, James Connolly was one of a few writers to conclude that this pitiful position was ultimately the reflection of an historical geography of exploitation. In Labour in Ireland Connolly describes what he considered to be the lot of the typical Irish peasant: "Politically he [sic] was non-existent, legally he held no rights, intellectually he sank under the weight of his own social abasement, and surrendered to the downward drag of his poverty. He had been conquered, and he suffered all the terrible consequences of defeat at the hands of the ruling class and nation who have always acted upon the old Roman maxim of 'Woe to the vanquished.'"28 The peasant that Connolly describes is of course an exceedingly depotentiated figure which calls to mind Agamben's homo sacer. I want to try arid locate the production of this bare life through various colonial strategies. To begin with I focus on politico-military violence and particular strategies of occupation, dispossession and banishment. I argue that these conquests paved the way for political structures Hannah Arendt has usefully suggested that a condition of "complete rightlessness" needs to be produced before the right to life is itself challenged. See Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, 1976: 295-96. 2 8 James Connolly. Labour in Ireland: Labour in Irish History; the Reconquest of Ireland. Dublin: Irish Transport and General Workers Union, 1944: xxix-xxx. 34 of reform, fiscal programmes, and development ideologies that also advanced their own form of colonial violence. This political geography offers one explanation as to how the pre-Famine peasantry were "without control of the land and the means of life generally" and how this de facto position influenced the historical unfolding of the Irish Famine. Colonial law and the Pale Ireland's colonial history is long and complex. Early raids by Scandinavian Vikings brought Ireland its first settler populations since the Celts arrived in 400 B.C.E., but the country's political association with England did not begin until the Norman conquests (1169-1315). The prelude to invasion was both fractious and farcical. Two Irish kings Dermot MacMurrough and Tiernan O'Rourke enjoyed a longstanding hatred. In the course of their feuding MacMurrough abducted O'Rourke's wife, Derbforgaill, and though subsequently recovered, O'Rourke continued to hold grievance. Hatching a series of cunning alliances O'Rourke gained the upper-hand, and forced his archrival to flee Ireland. Not to be easily outdone MacMurrough repaired to the court of Henry II, then Norman king of England, to reclaim his lost territory and title. Through Henry's intercession MacMurrough was able to enlist the aid of the legendary Norman leader Strongbow. In exchange for the aid of the Norman war machine, MacMurrough promised his daughter's hand in marriage as well as the succession rights to his kingdom. The deal was agreed and the first Norman troops arrived at Bannow Bay in 1169. There quickly ensued a series of pitched campaigns in which the Normans (aided by MacMurrough's men) managed to capture the important Viking centres of Waterford and Dublin, routing O'Rourke and his allies en route. As if sensing success MacMurrough took i l l , never to recover, and his reclaimed title reverted to Strongbow. Nominally, Strongbow and his troops were acting on behalf of Henry II, but the King feared that Strongbow planned to establish an independent kingdom in Ireland. In a pre-emptive move, the Henry travelled to Ireland — reinforced by a show-case retinue of men — and was decreed feudal lord of Ireland in 1171. Abductions, collaborations and serendipity: under such auspices English intervention in Ireland began.31 W. P. Ryan. The Irish Labour Movement: From the 'Twenties to Our Day. Dublin: The Talbot Press Limited, n.d.: 13. 3 0 R.H.C. Davis. A Medieval History of Europe: From Constantine to Saint Louis. 2nded. London: Longman, 1996: 156-158; B. J. Graham. "The High Middle Ages: c. 1100 to c.l 350." A Historical Geography of Ireland. London: Academic Press Ltd., 1993. eds. B. J. Graham and L J . Proudfoot, 1993: 58-98. 3 1 Significantly, many post-Union travelogues on Ireland — which I discuss in detail in the following chapter — include a history of British intervention in Ireland. A good example being, Sir Richard Colt Hoare. Journal of a Tour in Ireland, A.D. 1806. London: W. Miller, 1807. 35 Like the Vikings they succeeded, the Norman settlers preferred to seize the fertile lowlands, consolidate their hold in urban centres, and allow indigenous rivalries to unfurl around them. Their settlements were inevitably piecemeal, and in time they merged with the indigenous populations, often adopting their language and customs. Nonetheless the Norman settlement established a vital precedent that was to be seriously augmented during the Tudor reconquest of Ireland (1485-1603). During the fourteenth and fifteenth-century, English rule was effectively confined to a small political-juridical tract of land popularly known as "the Pale." The boundaries of the Pale extended north from Dublin to Dundalk, inland from the coast as far as Naas and snaking south to capture the settlement of Bray (see Figure 1.1). In response to the recalcitrance of the indigenous population the English Crown convened a parliament at Kilkenny, the place that lent its name to the infamous Statute in 1336. Written in Norman-French the Statute of Kilkenny sought to criminalise the use of the Irish language, manners of dress and other indigenous customs. For instance, it was ordained "that no alliance by marriage, gossipred, fostering of children, concubinage or by amour, nor in any other manner, be hencefoth made betweeen the English and Irish."3 2 To ride a horse "otherwise than on a saddle in the English fashion" was deemed illegal and to sell horses or armour to the Irish was treasonable offence.33 Equally it was "ordained and established, that every Englishman do use the English language, and be named by an English name, leaving off entirely the manner of naming used by the Irish; and that every Englishman use the English custom, fashion, mode of riding and apparel, according to his estate; and if any English, or Irish living amongst the English, use the Irish language amongst themselves, contrary to the ordinance, and therof be attainted, his lands and tenements, if he have any, shall be seized into the hands of his immediate lord.. ." 3 4 The legal proscription of cultural difference was coterminous with acts of economic regularisation.35 3 2 "A Statute of the Fortieth Year of King Edward in., enacted in a parliament held in Kilkenny, A.D. 1367, before Lionel Duke of Clarence, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland," CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, University College Cork, Ireland. Text ID Number: T300001.001. This digital edition is sourced from James Hardiman, ed. A Statute enacted in Kilkenny, A.D. 1367 Translation into English in Tracts relating to Ireland. Dublin: Irish Archaeological Society, 1843. See also Kinealy. A Death-Dealing Famine, op. cit.: 17. 3 3 "A Statute of the Fortieth Year of King Edward UL" op. cit.. 34 Ibid. 3 5 The sale of victuals was to "be reasonably regulated." Merchants and their merchandise were to present themselves before a mayor, seneschal, bailiff or provost, to negotiate prices and taxes. Ibid. 36 Figure 1.1: The Pale Source: R.D. Edwards & B. Hourican, 2005: 80 In a sense the Statute of Kilkenny repeats earlier legislation to the same effect, but its occasion and tone suggest a smouldering fear that colonial power was radically ineffectual. To the extent that the statute criminalised indigenous life it also directed its edicts and norms at the settlers themselves who were forbidden to adopt such modes of living. Acculturation was made a criminal offence. Herein lies the suggestive power of John Lynch's famous epigram that the early settlers steadily became Hiberniores Hibernicis ipsis (more Irish than the Irish themselves). Today many historians still refer to the Normans as the "old English." Indeed Englishness, like Irishness, was not a stable identity. It could, therefore, be subject to an unsettling cultural overhaul — a sort of colonisation in reverse. Hence colonial demarcations and differentiations required constant surveillance and reaffirmation. The cultural porosity of the contact zone was what Nicholas Canny referred to as "the permissive frontier."40 The Pale was thus a geographical reflection of a crisis in power, another early instance of what MacCarthy-Morrogh describes as "the dark fears of the classic embattled settler."41 It was with reference to the "barbarous" Irish living outside the Pale that the English phrase "beyond the pale," meaning beyond the law, originates. Early colonial law clearly recodified — and spatialised — its own retrenchment in the face of a recalcitrant indigenous culture. But this retrenchment can be overstated. As Martin Heidegger points out: " A boundary is not that at which something stops, as the Greeks recognized, the boundary is that from which something This theme resonates with other work. Referring to a series of "rigorous and uncompromising government directives" in the late medieval period John Morrissey thinks that they "may merely suggest the ineffectiveness of [the English] administration." John Morrissey. "Contours of Colonialism: Gaelic Ireland and the Early Colonial Subject." Irish Geography 37.1 (2004): 95. Similarly on the Penal Laws Declan Kiberd has written: "The verbal harshness of the statutes was the reflection of their inoperability in a country lacking a comprehensive police force or a system of prisons. Declan Kiberd. Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation. London: Vintage, 1996: 16. 3 7 Sean O'Faolain took this argument to the limit when he characterised the early Norman settlers as Ireland's first Home Rulers. Sean O'Faolain. The Irish. London: Penguin Books, 1980: 63-64. "The gaelicisation of the Anglo-Norman colony" is discussed by Ken Nichols. Ken W. Nichols. Gaelic and Gaelicised Ireland in the Middle Ages. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1972. For a critical review of these issues see John Morrissey. "Cultural Geographies of the Contact Zone: Gales, Galls and the Overlapping Territories in Late Medieval Ireland." Social and Cultural Geography 6.4 (2005): 561. 3 8 Aidan Clarke. The Old English in Ireland 1625-42. London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1966. 3 9 John Morrissey helpfully discusses various "axis of cultural blending" that are typically reinforced in colonial societies through the "perennial necessity of networking." Morrissey. "Cultural Geographies of the Contact Zone", op. cit: 560-61. 4 Nicholas Canny. "The Permissive Frontier: The Problem of Social Control in English Settlements in Ireland and Virginia 1550-1650." The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, The Atlantic and America, 1480-1650. Eds. K.R. Andrews, N.P. Canny and P.E.H. Hair. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press,, 1978: 17-44. 4 1 Cited in, John Morrissey. "Geography Militant: Resistance and the Essentialisation of Identity in Ireland." Irish Geography 37.2 (2004): 169. 38 begins its presenting?**' As we shall see, the Pale was an early attempt at policing cultural difference through presenting politico-cultural norms. Thus the Pale is neither a perimeter nor a frontier. It is properly speaking an inside-outside dialectic — at once topological and topographical — which constitutes differences (the 'civi l ised' and the 'barbarous,' those inside the law and those literally beyond it) precisely as it attempts to erode them. The law is directed at ways of life that are deemed dangerous and therefore must be excluded through their inclusion within a normalising law. This calls to mind subsequent attempts to legislate indigenous language and religion out of existence. I wi l l return to this argument momentarily. Colonial policies gathered pace under Tudor rule. Following Henry VIII's break with Rome, Catholic Ireland was thought to be a strategic threat to the Crown. As a consequence Henry duly proclaimed the Kingdom of Ireland (1541) — replacing the earlier Lordship of Ireland — and embarked upon a series of "plantation" schemes that were later continued and expanded under the reign of Elizabeth I (see Figure 1.2).43 Henry sought to convince many of the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish lords beyond the Pale that he could guarantee superior security by presenting them with a legal title to their lands. Forty of the most important lords "surrendered their lands to the crown Figure 1.2: Tudor plantations Source: R.D. Edwards & B. Hourican, 2005 : 158 and received them back in capite by re-grant."4 4 The policy, know as "Surrender and Regrant," proved to be a successful but ultimately limited platform for colonisation during the Tudor period. As Sean Duffy relates: Cited in, Homi Bhabha. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994: 1 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 156. Ibid.: 157. 39 The job of making English landlords out of Irish warlords might eventually prove possible, but not without a lot of effort pushing square pegs into round holes. The Principle of primogeniture that underpinned English common law — the system by which the eldest legitimate child succeeds to all property and titles — ran directly counter to Irish practice, where bastard sons had as much right as legitimate offspring, lordship could not pass through the female line, and, most importantly, there was no automatic right to succession by an eldest son: if he succeeded his father it was only because he had proved himself to be the obvious choice, frequently only after lengthy and bloody succession dispute with, perhaps, a brother or cousin.45 However, the most common form of colonisation was of a more coercive nature. It involved the confiscation of land and the replacement of indigenous farmers with English and later Scottish planters. In response to insurrection Edward VI imprisoned O'Connor of Offaly and O'More of Laois and declared their lands forfeit. Under Mary Tudor a plantation scheme for Laois and Offaly was prepared in 1556. One hundred and sixty families, mostly from the Pale and England, were granted estates.46 Indigenous resistance was quite strong and the lands bordering the newly planted estates suffered internecine strikes that ultimately led to the settlements' failure.47 The plantation policy really gained momentum under Elizabeth's rule. In 1583 the Earl of Desmond was killed during a rebellion and Elizabeth saw an opportunity to re-create what, historian Jane Ohlmeyer terms "the world of south-east England" in Munster. Accordingly, in 1586 she confiscated 374,628 acres in counties Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Waterford.49 This massive deterritorialisation was followed by an equally ambitious project of reterritorialisation: landed estates of 12,000, 8,000, 6,000 and 4,000 acres were awarded to thirty-five English landlords and some 20,000 settlers "who vowed to introduce English colonists and to practise Sean Duffy. The Concise History of Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2005: 97. 4 6 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 157. 4 7 In other instances, small colonies of English settlers were "planted" to provide ideal farming communities for the indigenous populations to emulate. These exemplary plantations — promulgating civilisation by example — are an interesting archetype of the agricultural schools and the ideology of "scientific farming" that became so popular in Ireland during the nineteenth-century. For comments on the civilising work of agricultural schools see Harriet Martineau. Letters from Ireland. London: J . Chapman, 1852: 1 Iff; William Makepeace Thackeray. The Irish Sketch Book. 1869. London: John Murray Ballantyne Hanson, 1985. For a description of wealthy Scottish, English and Irish farmers beginning agricultural operations in Galway during on the Famine see James H. Tuke. A Visit to Connaught in the Autumn of 1847: A Letter Addressed to the Central Relief Committee of the Society of Friends. London: Charles Gilpin, 1847: 6. 4 8 Ohlmeyer, op. cit.: 137. 4 9 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 157. 40 English-style agriculture based on grain growing." Sir Walter Raleigh was allotted the prize settlement of 40,000 acres.51 Although the "Munster Plantation" was only partially successful (only a portion of the confiscated lands were actually settled and even this was not financially rewarding) it was a significant lesson in colonial governance. It was far more systematic than any previous plantation and it proved the rule that large numbers settlers were vital if the plantation was to be a success. By the end of the sixteenth-century 12,000 settlers were actively engaged in farming on the confiscated estates and many inhabitants "now wore shoes (rather than brogues), English caps, stockings, breeches, and jerkins, while an ever-increasing number of people spoke English." 5 2 However, as Ruth Dudley Edwards and Bridget Hourican observed, as far as plantation policy was concerned Elizabeth was above all a pragmatist. When McMahon of Monaghan was "attainted" (see Box 1.2.) in 1591 and his estate forfeited, Elizabeth allotted the lands between two local lords. Elizabeth's approach was doubtlessly a response to the political climate and the necessity of maintaining local alliances, but it also epitomised a significant element of colonial thought that viewed the imposition of English legal and administrative procedures as the best means of achieving political stability and native enlightenment.54 This was not, necessarily, an ideological contest between conciliatory policies and more punitive practices. After all colonial discourse often works to dress a de facto imposition as a civilisational gift.55 Such calculations are clear, for instance, when in a report in 1576 Sir William Gerard asked "can the sword teache theim to speake Englishe, to use Englishe apparel, to restrayne theim from Irish axactions and extotions, and to shone all the manners and orders of the Irishe. Noe it 3 U Ohlmeyer, op. cit:. 137. 5 1 Terrence McDonough, and Eamonn Slater. "Colonialism, Feudalism and the Mode of Production in Nineteenth-Century Ireland." Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Ed. Terrence McDonough. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005: 28-29. 5 2 Ohlmeyer, op. cit:. 137-138. Here Ohlmeyer is drawing on Michael Mac-Morrogh. "The English Presence in Early Seventeenth Century Munster." Natives and Newcomers: The Making of Irish Colonial Society, 1534-1641. Eds. Ciaran Brady and Raymond Gillespie. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1986: 188. 5 3 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit:. 157. 5 4 Ciaran Brady. The Chief Governors: The Rise and Fall of Reform Government in Tudor Ireland 1536-1588. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Of course there is a long colonial tradition of viewing imposition as gift. 5 5 For a different context see Eric Olund. "From Savage Space to Governable Space: The Extension of the United States Judicial Sovereignty over Indian Country in the Nineteenth Century." Cultural Geographies 9 (2002): 129-57. 41 is the rodd of justice that must scower out those blottes." In other words, disciplinary practices often worked within reform policies as a "strategy of conquest."57 Box 1.2. The law of attainder Under Eng l i sh law, up unti l the nineteenth century, ••attainder'" was the the legal consequences o f judgement o f death or out lawry, in respect of treason or fe lony. It resulted in the forfeiture o f estate, both real and personal. The latter imp l i ed a corrupt ion o f b lood , so that the condemned cou ld neither inherit nor transmit In descent, and general ly , the ext inct ion o f a l l c i v i l rights and capacit ies normal ly granted to the person. In other words, a person out lawed lost the right to seek legal p ro tec t i on . " It is worth recal l ing that "Surrender and Regrant'" conferred legal titles on lands that p rev ious ly ex is ted, as it were, outside the Pale o f the law. In other words, its purpose was to br ing lands and tit les outside the law under the w ing o f Eng l i sh rule and government. Howeve r , this inc lus ion wi th in the law-was also an act ol" exc lus ion C lea r l y , under the law o f attainder an out lawed l i fe is se ized in an inc lus ive exc lus ion whereby the law appl ies to l i fe by not app ly , by suspending itself. The out law is brought w i th in the pale o f the law on ly to be p laced beyond it. T h i s structure o f inc lus ive exc lus ion permits an out law to be conv ic ted o f cr i IK-->. have his/her property forfeited or to bo executed, al l without the benefit o f a legal tr ial. Here (he outlaw is a c lear mani lcs tat ion what \ g a m b e n f igure of homo \atcr J bare l i fe that can be k i l l ed without commi t t inu a c r ime It cou ld be argued that the law o f attainder actual ly embod ies the territorial structure o l the Pale, based as it is upon those who are l i terally ins ide the law and tho.se who arc beyond it. It is hard ly 3 0 Cited in, Ohlmeyer, op. cit: 133-34. 5 7 Clare Carroll argues: Many of the policies thought of as 'reform' by the early modem English in effect destroyed indigenous cultural, economic and political institutions. Such policies as surrender and regrant, which abolished Gaelic titles and entailed the surrender of ownership and use of land to the English sovereign; composition, which imposed only once one tax to the English crown but in so doing abolished the customary support of local Gaelic lords; the new colonies of Munster and Ulster, which sought to make more profitable use of land ad in the process displaced native inhabitants; and martial law itself which imposed capital punishment with out trial — all were thought of as 'reform' by the early modern English in Ireland. Clare Carroll. Circe's Cup: Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Ireland. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001: 12. Other scholars tend to view coercion and conciliation as warring ideologies. Sean Duffy writes that: "the same conflict between coercion and conciliation underlay British policy towards Ireland until the twentieth century." Sean Duffy, op. cit.: 97. See also note 95 and passim. 5 8 See the definitions of "attainder" and "outlawry" in Joseph Byrne. Byrne's Dictionary of Irish Local History from Earliest Times to C. 1900. Cork: Mercier Press, 2004: 27, 216. 42 surprising that the law of attainder was applied to other English colonies (though it was also enforced for treasonable acts within England). Indeed, one of the motivations for the American Revolution was frustration at the injustice of attainder. For my own purposes attainder reminds us that the extension of English jurisdiction (what William Gerard called "the rodd of justice") across Ireland was also an act of political violence. In such cases, to paraphrase Frantz Fanon, we could say that for the native justice is what is directed against them.59 These early plantation schemes proved largely unsuccessful until Elizabeth paved the way for the most extensive plantations of Ulster. Her successful conclusion of the bloody Nine Years War (1594-1603), and the later flight of the Ulster aristocracy to continental Europe (an exodus which became known as "Right of the Ear ls" 6 0 ) , created a crucial power vacuum which the newly appointed King James I moved to exploit. 6 1 In contrast to earlier schemes, the plantation of Ulster confiscated large swathes of land. Six counties were involved in the 'official ' plantation: Armagh, Fermanagh Cavan, Coleraine (renamed Londonderry), Donegal and Tyrone. 6 2 Of the 3.8 mill ion acres confiscated, 1.5 mill ion acres were Figure 1.3: James I plantations Source: R.D. Edwards & B. Hourican, 2005: 160 Fanon actually wrote "For the native objectivity is always directed against him." Frantz Fanon. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 1963: 77. 6 0 Duffy cites a Gaelic poet's reaction: "If Providence has ordained that Ireland, a new England in everything but name, should henceforth be in the hands of enemies, it is fitting to bid farewell to that Island." Sean Duffy, op. cit.: 103. 6 1 In fact half the money Elizabeth spent on foreign wars was paid for by the subjugation of Ireland. Thomas McLoughlin. Contesting Ireland: Irish Voices against England in the Eighteenth Century. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2004: 21. 6 2 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 159. 43 either partly or wholly infertile (see figure 1.3). This land was to be re-granted to the indigenous Irish. According to the Articles of Plantation of Ulster (1609), there were to be three divisions of settlers: Undertakers: Scots and English of high rank who were to allocated estates of 2,000, 1,500, and 1,000 at a rent of £5 6s. 8d., per acre. They were to allowed only English and Scots tenants. Servitors: These comprised mainly administrators or military men who were allocated estates of similar proportion at a rent of £8 per 1,000 acres. Irish tenants were to be permitted only in limited cases. Native Irish: These paid £10 13s.4d per acre and were allowed Irish tenants. Their estates were usually between 100 and 300 acres.64 The principle was that only a small number of native settlers would be retained and only on condition that they assumed English modes of dwelling and farming.65 Ideally this allowed the new colonists to concentrate in groups rather than on 'islands' or 'pockets' of land. Their geography was to be bounded and exclusive as otherness continued to play an important role in demarcating the frontiers of empire. As John Morrissey writes: "outright dispossession ... was frequently the endgame of differentiation."66 In practice, however, the Irish population was neither completely removed nor wholly Anglicised. Although new English and Scottish planters did arrive in substantial numbers they often had to allow Irish tenants in order to make their estates viable. In addition to these state sponsored schemes, private plantations were established in Antrim and Down, which proved to be remarkably successful. By 1618 there were estimated to be 40,000 Scots in Ulster.67 Indeed, before the end of James' reign additional plantations were established in Leitrim, Westmeath, King's County, Queen's County, Longford and Wexford, although with only limited success. The consequence of these plantations was to fortify the power of a new elite, loyal and largely Protestant aristocracy. At the end of the Tudor monarchy, and despite the early 63 Ibid.: 159. 64 Ibid.: 159; Ohlmeyer, op. cit.: 138. 6 5 Sean Duffy, op. cit.: 109. 6 6 Morrissey. "Geography Militant", op. cit.: 166-76. 6 7 Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 159. 6 8 Kennedy discusses the Longford settlements focusing on how the Protestant community fared between 1660-1921. Kennedy, op. cit.: 1-34. 44 confiscation schemes, 90 per cent of the land remained under Catholic ownership. By 1641, and mainly as a result of the Ulster Plantations, there were estimated to be 100,000 Protestant settlers in Ireland (comprising 30,000 Scots and 70,000 Welsh and English). 6 9 Still vastly outnumbered by Catholics (at around 15-1), the colonists now controlled 41 per cent of the land. However, by the time of James II accession to the throne in 1685, the new settlers possessed nearly 80 per cent of the land, following Oliver Cromwell 's vicious campaign to put down a Catholic rebellion in 1641 and the subsequent Jacobite war in Ireland. 7 0 The Irish rebellion had been fierce and bloody and Cromwell returned in kind when he and his army of 3,000 Ironsides landed in Ireland in early August 1649. Following a number of decisive military encounters the rebellion was utterly shattered. Surviving Irish officers surrendered on terms that allowed them to recruit in military service overseas. Those who were reduced to penury and beggary because of the conflict were transported to the West Indies as indentured labour. After the military conquest parliamentary commissioners were sent to Ireland "to suppress Catholicism, to make provision for a puritan ministry and for the education of reliable and 'godly ministers of the gospel . ' " 7 1 Roman Catholic bishops and clergy had a price put on their heads, were hunted down, kil led, imprisoned or banished. 7 2 Mostly importantly, however, the military defeat paved the way for fresh round of confiscations, transportations (or 'transplantations' as some historians prefer) and redoubled plantation schemes (see Figure 1.4). Following the customary forfeiture of rebel lands a series of Figure 1.4: Transfer of land ownership Acts between 1652-53 decreed that Irish Source: R.D. Edwards & B. Hourican, 2005: 164 '„ , landlords who were entitled to hold onto their estate would be transported west of the river Shannon to the lands in Connaught and Clare. Ohlmeyer, op. cit.: 139. Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 163; Kinealy. A Death-Dealing Famine, op. cit:. 18. Sean Duffy, op. cit.: 109. The Scot Presbyterians were also targeted to a lesser degree. Ibid.: 116, 118. 45 Thus Cromwell was said to have driven the rebellious Irish either "To Hell or to Connaught," but according to some descriptions there was little difference: "It was into this barren province [Connaught] that the Irish were driven by Cromwell. They were forbidden to appear within ten miles of the Shannon, or four of the sea, and, if they evaded the stringent passport system which was established, they were doomed to death without trial, although it was said with truth that certain parts of the province did not contain 'wood enough to hang, water enough to drown, or earth enough to bury a man.'" 7 3 A l l told some 11 million acres were appropriated across Leinster, Munster and Ulster though clearly this cantonisation of the rebel population also involved huge confiscations within Connaught and Clare. 7 4 Of huge consequence too was the confiscation of all properties in towns and cities held by rebel forces. Crucially, as Denis O'Hearn points out, this meant that Catholic merchants were excluded from local government and ipso facto the structures of economic and political power.75 The waves of war, confiscation and banishment paved the way for a "Protestant Ascendancy."76 Future rebellion was to be quashed by a "complex body" of anti-Catholic legislation — stretching from the end of the seventeenth to the middle of the eighteenth-century — that became collectively known as the Penal Laws. 7 7 Woodham-Smith describes these punitive acts in the following words: In broad outline, they barred Catholics from the army, navy, the law, commerce, and from every civic activity. No Catholic could vote, hold any office under the Crown, or purchase land, and Catholic estates were dismembered by an enactment directing that at the death of a Catholic owner his land was to be divided among all his sons, unless the eldest became a Protestant, when he would inherit the whole. Education was made almost impossible, since Catholics might not attend schools, nor keep schools, nor send their children to be educated Arthur Bennett. John Bull and His Other Island. London: Simpkin Marshall Hamilton Kent, 1890: 59-60. 7 4 According to Ruth Dudley Edwards and Bridget Hourican 35,000 soldiers plus 1,000 adventurers were originally apportioned land, although it is thought that fewer than a quarter of this number actually settled in Ireland. Dudley Edwards and Hourican, op. cit.: 161. 7 5 Denis O'Hearn. "Ireland in the Atlantic Economy." Was Ireland a Colony? Economics, Politics and Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland. Ed. Terrence McDonough. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2005: 8. 7 6 The Treaty of Limerick, which ended the Jacobite rebellion in Ireland, resulted in another exodus of the native aristocracy later referred to as the "Flight of the Wild Geese." It is estimated that a further one million acres of land were confiscated. 7 7 The Law school at the University of Minnesota provides a concise summary and full text of the penal legislation between the years 1691-1759. The material may be searched in chronological order or by subject matter. http://www.law.umn.edu/irishlaw/index.html (accessed June 12, 2005). 46 abroad. The practice of the Catholic faith was proscribed; informing was encouraged as 'an honourable service' and priest-hunting treated as a sport. 8 Contemporaries were no less stringent in their criticisms. The Irish born statesman and author, Edmund Burke famously decried the Penal Laws in the following terms: "IT HAD a vicious perfection — it was a complete system — full of coherence and consistency; well-digested and well-disposed in all its parts. It was a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance and as well-fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man." These sectarian acts were buttressed by a number of important economic sanctions. According to a recent assessment by Denis O'Hearn, the Navigation, Cattle and Wool Acts were especially important in terms of securing what O'Hearn calls a negative economic path dependency. For example, Navigation Acts in 1660, 1663, 1670, 1671 and 1696 — "a rather invisible episode in Irish colonial history" — excluded Ireland from importing most American plantation commodities.81 Likewise the Cattle Act of 1665 prohibited the exportation of Irish cattle to England, and the Wool Act of 1699 banned the export of Irish wool to any country 82 V other than England. These acts had disastrous consequences for Irish trade; indeed most acutely in the case of live cattle where exports plummeted from 37,544 in 1665 to 1,054 in 1669.83 O'Hearn's research is exemplary in insisting that the exceptions (his emphasis) to these acts affected Irish economic development just as much as the restrictions they imposed. For instance, the Wool Act cushioned the English wool market from competition on the continent as well as facilitating the transition to linen production in Ireland. Similarly, by restricted Irish exports of live cattle, the Cattle Act encouraged a transition to the provisions trade (including ' 8 Woodham-Smith, op. cit.: 22. 7 9 Cited in, Diarmuid O'Muirithe, ed. A Seat Behind the Coachman: Travellers in Ireland 1800-1900. Dublin: Gill Macmillan, 1972 : i. Sean Duffy provides an important gloss: "Of course the strict letter of the 'popery laws' was by no means always enforced, and, in any case, under the terms Catholics could still practice their religion, but they must do so from a position of utter inferiority, political, social, and economic. It is important too to note that in addition to Catholics, Protestant dissenters were also kept in an inferior position. The 1704 Act had a clause enforcing a sacramental test repugnant to dissenters, the refusal to take which debarred them, like, Catholics, from public office and from military employment." Sean Duffy, op. cit.: 122. 8 0 O'Hearn, op. cit.: 4. 81 Ibid.: 8-9. 8 2 Kinealy. A Death-Dealing Famine, op. cit.: 20; O'Hearn, op. cit.: 8-11. 8 3 O'Hearn, op. cit.: 10. 47 the exportation of cattle in barrels), an expansion in sheep husbandry, and the exportation of wool to England. According to O'Hearn, "trade restrictions were designed to not only to suppress Irish competition with England but to encourage Irish production of commodities that oc were crucial to England's Atlantic commercial project." Properly speaking these 'acts of union' were not punitive but disciplinary: they suppressed some behaviours as they incited others. Crown control and statute book colonialism These historical geographies are important to tell in order to question the more crude assumptions of Irish "underdevelopment" in the pre-Famine decades. The story of conquest is also the story of uneven geographical development as a result of foreign intervention. This point is lost without an understanding of the colonial past and its contested histories of occupation, warfare, confiscation, banishment, politicide and ethnocide. By the end of the eighteenth-century it was clear that the bulk of the Irish population lived in abject poverty. "They had ceased to be a nation," wrote Paul Dubois, "and became instead an inert mass of exhausted and hopeless people." In his imaginative biography of Daniel O'Connell, Sean O'Faolain describes the "awful slow withering-away of the eighteenth century" that was repeatedly evoked by contemporaries: "Every single historian of that century has spoken of her [sic] in terms of some disease, and the best phrase of all says that she was like a body dragging itself about with one half already dead. That dead half was the past, alive only 87 in memory, and slowly rotting even there." In his History of the Poor Law in Ireland, George Nicholls, the. Irish poor law commissioner (whom we will deal with at length in the following chapters), glosses this period of Irish history in an entirely different and revealing way. According to Nicholls by the eighteenth-century: "we no longer see any allusion to the 'Irishry' as a separate race. All are, brought within the pale of the law, or it may rather be said that the law and the pale have mIbid.: W-ll. 85 Ibid.: 9. 8 6 Cited in