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Unapproved Routes


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction: 'A House Divided' 2: The Time of Partition and the Power of Space in the Evidence Presented to the Irish Boundary Commission, 1925 3: 'The Big Fish and the Little Fellow': Property and Territory on Lough and River Foyle 4: Cocks, Cops, and Writing-men: 'Deep Play' on the Irish border 5: Smuggling: A Border Perspective on Society, Culture, and Authority 6: Border-Crossing-Roads: Material Culture at the Limits of Governmentality 7: Conclusions: Hegemony and Histories of the Everyday

About the Author

Peter Leary is from Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. He studied at Goldsmiths', University of London and the University of Ulster at Magee in Derry, before completing a PhD in Irish History at Queen's University Belfast in 2014. He is currently the Canon Murray Fellow in Irish History at the University of Oxford.


[a] fascinating and often very funny new study of the Irish border. The absurdities of the border are brought to life vividly through a set of rich primary sources, including fascinating testimony to the Irish boundary commission in the early 1920s about the borders interference with local patterns of activity ... Peter Leary's book illustrates vividly the reasons why all sides in Britain and Ireland are now loudly proclaiming that no one wants to return to the hard borders of the past. But it also provides a timely reminder that we can't rule out perverse and aggravating outcomes at the Irish border that could unsettle the post-conflict dispensation. * Niall O Dochartaigh, Times Literary Supplement *
Peter Leary offers a fascinating insight into how people and communities "negotiated" the line that disrupted their lives in 1922 and continued to define them for decades after. * Christopher Kissane, The Irish Times *
Peter Leary's Unapproved Routes is a timely and sensitive exploration of everyday life on the Irish border in the half century between 1922 and 1972. This conceptually sophisticated book deftly marries historical and anthropological analysis to critical theory, examining such diverse subjects as salmon fishing, cockfighting, smuggling, and border-crossing roads in order to reveal the ways in which the border simultaneously reified state power and exposed its limits. Leary's empathetic study of Irish people on the periphery - both spatially and socially - demonstrates that Partition opened as well as closed opportunities for marginalized groups on either side of the divide. It reminds us, too, that the relationship between official rhetoric, public policy, national identity, and lived experience is complex and contested. The committee is delighted to award Unapproved Routes the Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book. * ACIS Donald Murphy Prize Committee *
The lived realities which this book describes, with a flair for the humorous anecdote, are made cogent by the immense amount of official source material online and in the National Archives in London, Dublin and Belfast as well as oral history collections, the National Folklore Collection and local newspapers. The book raises deep questions about the nature of community responses in structuring everyday experience and social reality where external impositions seem an artificial configuration ... This study of their attempts to make sense of their lives is hugely compelling. * Brenda Collins, Family & Community History *
Unapproved Routes, Peter Leary's superb account of fifty years of the Irish border beginning in 1922 ... is exactly the type of work that will appeal to a good cross-section of scholars - historians, human geographers, political scientists, and cultural anthropologists. Leary's inclusion of the musings of Patrick Kavanagh and Michael McLaverty, among other scribes, will delight even the fussiest of my fellow literary scholars, too. * Peter D. O'Neill, Irish Studies Review *
a fascinating new book on the history of partition * Frank McNally, The Irish Times *

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