Coben’s research examines the reengineering of moral and legal forms when homes and mortgage debt became the centerpiece of a prolonged fiscal project of “economic recovery” in contemporary Ireland. This talk will introduce a variety of ways that people reimagined and drew upon “sovereignty thinking”, for instance: adapting North American sovereign citizen rhetoric about autonomous individualism in the face of home repossessions, naming a “special purpose vehicle” designed for tax avoidance after a capricious Irish “sovereignty goddess”, or renewing a republican attention to the current day ramifications of the 1921 Partition and its border, which is currently on the verge of being the Europe Union’s newest and westernmost land border. He will present findings from 12 months of ethnographic research he conducted on the southern side of the border region in the year before the UK voted in favor to the European Union with the aim of suggesting that while the slipperiness of sovereignty is on display through all these instances, there are consistent underlying contradictions in Irish political modernity that make the concept at once so attractive and ultimately so elusive. 

 

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