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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Noises from Beneath

Angela Nagle
Cyberutopians promised us the Internet would bring the end of hierarchies, industry, nationalism and gender oppression. But its political claims have proven largely empty while it has continued to spawn a particularly vicious male geek culture of obscenity and misogyny. Nagle’s essay, published in 2013, introduced themes which were later to be developed in her very successful book Kill All Normies (2017).
May 5, 2018, 12:44 PM

The Ascent of Women

Ann Kennedy Smith

‘The average standard of mental power in man must be above that of women,’ Charles Darwin asserted. The opinion was perhaps surprising given the number of talented and active women he knew personally, as well as the wide-ranging social disadvantages they faced as a sex. Women working in the fields of botany, entomology and education often corresponded with the great scientist. 

May 5, 2018, 13:39 PM

Crossing Jordan

Bryan Fanning
Jordan Peterson argues that inequalities experienced under one political system are likely to be recreated in any alternative. Yet surely human ingenuity makes it possible to create institutions and invent social practices which allow us to depart from the determinist script.
Jun 8, 2018, 15:00 PM

The World I Like

Sean Finnan
Far from being a public space, the internet as shaped by social media and personalised search engines sets up a space of absolute closeness, eliminating the outside. Here one encounters oneself and one’s own life. Communal public action to effect political change could not be further away.
Jul 6, 2018, 12:38 PM

Rousing the People

Timothy King
Populist elements in UKIP and the Tory party in Britain have succeeded in engineering a dramatic decision the country will very probably live to regret. What would it take to get a successful populist movement in Ireland going, and what issues would it campaign on?
Jul 6, 2018, 12:58 PM

Wilkommen go hÉirinn

Fergal Lenehan
Some people in the 1960s worried about Germans buying up Irish land. In the previous decade, however, an Irish government had set about seriously trying to attract German industry. If the immediate fruits were modest, an organisational model was established for future success.
Jul 7, 2018, 10:48 AM

Your Tribe or Mine?

John Wilson Foster
Multiculturalism has encouraged a rollback from frank discussion, substituting carefully monitored speech in which the identity of the speaker, not the truth-value of what is said, is paramount: candid observation tends less to stimulate debate than fury and grotesquely exaggerated reaction.
Jul 7, 2018, 10:58 AM

One Size Fits All

Eoin Dillon

Economic history, Paul Bairoch wrote, teaches us that no rule or law in economics is valid for every period of history or every economic structure. So why are European models, based on the myth of the rational homo economicus, still so prevalent in African development economics?

Sep 2, 2018, 08:52 AM

And Who Are Your People?

Mairéad Carew
In the 1930s American academics carried out a range of studies in European countries whose citizens had a tradition of emigration to the US. The measurement of skulls and other tests, it was felt, could determine which peoples were ‘eugenically fit’ and which were rather a bad lot.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:03 AM


Paul Walsh
Tyrannies, ancient and modern, depend on myths, myths which cement the leader in power and demolish any arguments against his rule (and it’s almost always a him); they promote and naturalise an identity as fixed as the North Star, bringing all minds into orbit round an idea.
Sep 2, 2018, 09:13 AM

Back to Basics

Tom Wall
Much of the gloom about European politics and society is rather overdone, particularly given the recent economic recovery, admittedly still fragile. It is undeniable, however, that social democracy has lost ground. Might its future lie in returning to the vigorous pursuit of equality?
Sep 2, 2018, 10:37 AM

In Cold Blood

John Fanning
It has been euphemistically categorised as ‘enhanced interrogation’, but Jean Améry, who suffered it at the hands of the Gestapo, called it ‘methodical violence, the equivalent of rape’, adding that ‘whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world’.
Sep 3, 2018, 11:45 AM

Reclaiming Democracy

John Fanning
The internet is the most abundantly stocked pantry of grievance in the history of mankind, its users under constant surveillance. What future can there be for democracy if politics becomes a question of detailed statistical analysis and precisely targeted messages rather than ideas?
Oct 2, 2018, 17:43 PM

In Himself an Entire People

Seamus Deane
Charles de Gaulle was a traditional Catholic Christian. He rarely spoke of or even mentioned God but rarely failed to speak instead of France, the great stained-glass rose window in which the divine light had glowed through the centuries in radiance or in sombre melancholy.
Oct 2, 2018, 18:26 PM

Saving Democracy

John Horgan
The most radical critics of our contemporary political systems offer solutions that sound more like symptoms of the illness than any possible cure. Surely there is plenty of space between thinking there is no alternative and believing that the only alternatives possible are the outrageous ones.
Nov 9, 2018, 18:50 PM

The Future’s Bovine

John Fanning
Big Tech seems to envisage a future in which most humans will be like docile cows, to be regularly milked for their data. If you want to retain some control over your existence you will have to learn to run faster than the government, faster than the algorithms and faster than Amazon.
Nov 9, 2018, 19:32 PM

Homo Economicus

John Bradley
Modern economics often seems wilfully ignorant of the moral context its founder, Adam Smith, brought to the discipline. Smith fully understood the difference between a scientific theory and an investigation into human and societal behaviour. A science of man would always be different from a science of nature.
Nov 9, 2018, 19:40 PM

The Biggest Question

Scott Beauchamp
William Vollmann is fond of tackling large subjects and writing very big books, both fiction and non-fiction. In a two-volume work on climate change he addresses himself to the future inheritors of the earth and tries to explain to them why we did so little to prevent its destruction.
Nov 10, 2018, 08:05 AM

Halting the Waves

David Blake Knox
In the last three years, more than two million immigrants – primarily young men – have entered EU states. The policies being followed by European governments in response to this phenomenon are not only harsh and oppressive, but may also be counter-productive.
Nov 10, 2018, 09:07 AM

Mistaking Identity

Tom Inglis
We are inclined to think of social identities as traits that are common to all members of a group, that a person cannot help acting like ‘a woman’ or ‘a Frenchman’. But identities are fluid and dynamic. People perform their identities, playing up, or down, their social roles and positions.
Feb 4, 2019, 13:20 PM