Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Sociology, 5.8 MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS, Social sciences, Radio and Television

Publication Details

International Communicatons Association Conference, Fukuoka, Japan. 13 June 2016.


This paper identifies and critiques a dominant narrative in the history of Irish television, which is too often passed off for, or accepted as, the history of television in Ireland. The his- tory of television in Ireland has been written within an institutional framework and depends on the cultural binary of tradition and modernity, ‘old Ireland’ and ‘new Ireland’. This dom- inant narrative fails to interrogate television as a medium. It provides an account of the Irish broadcaster RTÉ rather than an account of the arrival of a new medium. Ironically this nar- rative which hinges on the role of television in opening up Irish society is itself quite closed in terms of the stories it tells and the questions it asks. The prevalence of this narrative can be explained by an academic dependence on institutional sources and in flawed ideas on the relationship between media and society. It will be argued that it is necessary to turn to non- institutional sources to complement and balance the factual and ideological blindspots in the dominant narrative.