Young farmers, masculinities and change in rural Ireland


  • Caitríona Ní Laoire National University of Ireland, Maynooth



This paper explores the changing nature of masculine identities among young fanners in contemporary Ireland. Contemporary agricultural restructuring processes involve increased competitiveness and the introduction of a business ethos to farming. The paper explores the ways in which rural masculine identities are responding to these changing social structures and values. It is based on a series of interviews with young farmers in one locality in the south-west, which aimed at exploring their values, goals and identities. This small case study highlights the existence of a traditional-modern dualism in rural masculine identities, underlain by the persistence of conventional masculinism. However, in response to the challenges of contemporary agricultural restructuring, there is evidence of the emergence (or resurrection) of a more open and flexible type of masculinity among young farmers, drawing on an interplay of alternative agricultural narratives and traditional agrarian ideology.

Author Biography

Caitríona Ní Laoire, National University of Ireland, Maynooth




How to Cite

Ní Laoire, C. (2014). Young farmers, masculinities and change in rural Ireland. Irish Geography, 35(1), 16–27.





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