Catholicism and alcoholism: the Irish diaspora lived ethics of the Dropkick Murphys punk band

James, Kieran and Grant, Bligh (2010) Catholicism and alcoholism: the Irish diaspora lived ethics of the Dropkick Murphys punk band. In: Migrant Security 2010: Citizenship and Social Inclusion in a Transnational Era, 15-16 Jul 2010, Toowoomba, Australia.

[img] PDF (Published Version)

Download (267Kb)
PDF (Documentation)

Download (561Kb)


This paper discusses the contemporary Irish-American punk band, the Dropkick Murphys, and in particular the band‘s most recent studio album 2007s The Meanest of Times. We find that the band‘s resurgent Irish nationalism is both uniquely a product of the Irish Diaspora, and, although the
band might be unwilling to admit it, American culture and its self-confident jingoistic patriotism. The band‘s attitude to Roman Catholicism is, in Sartre‘s (2003) words, a unique synthesis of facticity and transcendence in that they acknowledge its reality as a shadow overhanging both their pasts and their presents. However, the band seems to go beyond simply acknowledging its spectre by adopting, expressing, and/or reflecting some degree of religious faith themselves without going so far as to be clearly a 'Catholic band‘ like, for example, the Priests.
The shadow of a religious culture, and some degree of actual religious belief set the backdrop for and indeed inspire the band‘s world-weary tales of urban alienation, family breakdown, and brotherly affection; complex, metaphysical accounts of a culture imbedded in Diaspora. Yet, due to their status as a punk band, the Dropkick Murphys render this attendant religious metaphysic eminently
graspable by de-mythologising it. In particular, the band explores what 1970s punk journalist Caroline Coon described as ‗personal politics‘ sharing this with other ‗postmodern‘ contemporary punk bands NOFX (see James 2010) and the Offspring as well as their predecessors such as the Sex Pistols.
Through our ethnomusicological reading of The Meanest of Times (2007) they remind us that it is equally important to understand the experience of migrant security, Diasporic or otherwise, as oscillating between what Giddens (1991) termed
'ontological security‘ and 'existential anxiety‘ alongside geo-political readings of the same phenomenon.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 18731
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ publication.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2011 02:50
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2015 05:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: existential anxiety; existentialism; Irish diaspora; Irish nationalism; ontological security; punk music; Roman Catholicism
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only