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Clare Local Studies Project

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Family and Community in Ireland, 3rd Edition

Irish Times, December 29, 2001

Two New Books Take a Look at Rural Life

Two recently published books look at aspects of rural life in Clare and Limerick.

Family and Community in Ireland, A re-issue of the classic 1940’s text by Conrad Arensberg and Solon Kimball, has been brought out by the Clare Local Studies Project (CLASP) with a new introduction by Dr Anne Byrne, Dr Ricca Edmondson and Dr Tony Varley of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway.

CLASP’s mission statement is to increase access to sources for local studies and to republish books of local interest.

Family and Community in Ireland, a stalwart tome for sociology and anthropology students, is a study of social life among rural communities in Clare between 1932 and 1934, carried out as part of the Harvard Irish Survey.
The centre of rural life was the small family farm and the strong ties between kin and neighbours. According to the new introduction, the researchers argued that their study "could explain Ireland’s peculiar and puzzling demographic patterns: persistent emigration, population decline, delayed marriage and high rates of singleness".

A study on Ennis life was also carried out, focusing on shopkeepers and their relations with people from the countryside. "Arensberg and Kimball’s work can be remembered for the vividness and attention to detail with which it records the Irish society they observed," Dr Byrne, Edmondson and Varley conclude.

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Other Reviews

Field Day Review,
Vol. 3, 2007

Journal of Comparative Family Studies,
Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2005

Other Clare,
Vol. 27, 2003

Journal of Marriage and Family, November 2002

Bealoideas, Journal of the Folklore of Ireland,
Vol. 70, 2002

North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Vol. 42, 2002