The 2007 international economic crisis may have begun in capitalism’s heartland with credit default swops and sub-prime mortages, nevertheless some of its most dramatic manifestations have been at the edge. In Europe, the peripheral economies of Iceland, Greece and Ireland have manifested crises that have shaken Europe to the core, and generated crisis discourse that may well prove central. Certainly previous talk of crisis seem to have been key to political change processes in the past (Hay, 1996; Mårtenson and Lindhoff, 1998).While there has been some initial analysis of the discursive response to the economic crisis (Hartz, 2010; O’Rourke, 2010) this paper focuses on what some have considered the most conservative of ‘frames’ through which the crisis has been viewed (Thompson, 2009: 523): enterprise discourse. Furthermore this work concentrates on enterprise discourse in a post-celtic tiger crisis-ridden Ireland. Ireland is an economy, society and culture at the edge. On the one hand Ireland is on the edge of the USA /UK model. It is English-speaking, has a common law tradition, an Anglo-American banking model, low corporate tax rates and strong cultural and economic ties with both the USA and the UK. On the other hand, Ireland is also on the edge of mainland Europe with its membership of the Euro, its social Partnership model of labour relations until 2009, its early adoption of European Labour rights, generally pro-European stance and its historic cultural and economic ties to the continent. Enterprise discourse in Ireland is influenced by both USA/UK and European Union (EU) developments. However, Irish enterprise discourse is not merely a ‘local adoption’. For example, during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period (1987-2007), high Irish economic growth rates have coincided with the development of the EU’s enterprise policy, thus giving the impression that Ireland could serve as a model of development. Since the crisis Ireland, numbered among the ‘PIGS’ (Totaro, 2010) or ‘GIPSY’ club (Gros, 2010), has been represented both as a model victim of free-market fundamentalism (Krugman, 2010) and as a model of how public expenditure should be drastically cut (Halligan, 2010; Tett, 2010). Thus an examination of enterprise discourse in Ireland is of concern to more than residents of Ireland.
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