Transnational Nationalism and Collective Identity among the American Irish

Howard Lune
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1819-7
Publication: Jun 20

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1818-0
Publication: Jun 20

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1820-3
Publication: Jun 20

238 pages
6 x 9
2 figs., 12 halftones

How collective action creates meaning and identity within culturally diverse and physically dispersed communities

Read a blog entry by the author

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In Transnational Nationalism and Collective Identity among the American Irish, Howard Lune considers the development and mobilization of different nationalisms over 125 years of Irish diasporic history (1791–1920) and how these campaigns defined the Irish nation and Irish citizenship.

Lune takes a collective approach to exploring identity, concentrating on social identities in which organizations are the primary creative agent to understand who we are and how we come to define ourselves. As exiled Irishmen moved to the United States, they sought to create a new Irish republic following the American model. Lune traces the construction of Irish American identity through the establishment and development of Irish nationalist organizations in the United States. He looks at how networks—such as societies, clubs, and private organizations—can influence and foster diaspora, nationalism, and nationalist movements.

By separating nationalism from the physical nation, Transnational Nationalism and Collective Identity among the American Irish uniquely captures the processes and mechanisms by which collective identities are constructed, negotiated, and disseminated. Inevitably, this work tackles the question of what it means to be Irish—to have a nationality, a community, or a shared history.


In his brilliant and pathbreaking reflection on the transnational field of Irish nationalism, Howard Lune has provided a succinct analysis of nationalist movements. He convincingly employs insights from studies on nationalism, cross-border identities, and transnational collective action. Lune’s superb account suggests that organizational and transnational perspectives are essential for understanding and critically dealing with central questions of nationalism not only for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but also for the globalized world of the twenty-first century. This book is bound to become an essential guide for a new generation of social scientists debating how transnational action and transnationally organized collective identity formation shape cross-border nationalism.
Thomas Faist, Professor of Sociology, Bielefeld University, and author of The Transnationalized Social Question: Migration and the Politics of Social Inequalities in the Twenty-First Century

In Transnational Nationalism and Collective Identity among the American Irish , Howard Lune reveals the interrelationships among individuals and organizations committed to achieving independence for the Irish nation. The aspiration for an independent Irish nation dates from the Enlightenment and later spread throughout the diaspora, creating a transnational movement that still influences Ireland. This is a major contribution to our understanding of social movements, transnational nationalism, organizational fields, collective identity, and the complex relationships between Irish and Irish-American nationalists.
Robert W. White, Professor of Sociology, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and author of Out of the Ashes: An Oral History of the Provisional Irish Republican Movement

"This fine study fits into a long-established tradition of transatlantic scholarship.... Transnational Nationalism stresses narration, performance and negotiation and it is very good at bringing these things together and explaining their importance in creating identities, upholding shared values, or revealing to us where such connections existed.... Viewing nationalism in the long nineteenth century as a consistent cultural manifestation, despite the many and varied political experiences of the same period, Lune is able to add new value and originality to our consideration of well-known episodes in Irish nationalist history."
Ethnic and Racial Studies

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Nationalist Visions
3. Exporting Nationalism
4. Unfriendly Societies
5. “The Weaponed Arm of the Patriot”
6. Realization
7. Transnational Echoes


About the Author(s)

Howard Lune is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the author of Urban Action Networks: HIV/AIDS and Community Organizing in New York City.