Danielle Barrios-O'Neill (University of Ulster)
As an exploration of proto-digital modes and postnational identity in the writing of Northern Irish writer Ciaran Carson, this paper looks at the sociotechnological, coterminous evolutions of writing and identity in relation to structures of nationalism. I place emphasis on how Carson’s Belfast is part oral story (tribal and pretextual) and part metamedial (global and posttextual), and I make arguments for the "post-conflict" identity as one of complex interdependency., perhaps more so than elsewhere.
Key issues of the paper include the dynamics of home and exile, the oral community, the textual nation, digital globality, and an emergent textuality composed of integrated virtual and real, or the posttext, in Carson's work. I argue that all of these elements interact to produce the unique location of Carson's Belfast. I also analyze how, as borders and centers are deconstructed, the Carsonian text hints at a vastly channeled, hyperstructural sense of space. I contend that, insofar as the writing can be interpreted as a spatial and historical code, it has the potential to reinvent home and identity as open spaces.