Book Title: Meanings of Life in Contemporary Ireland: Webs of Significance
Author: Tom Inglis
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Guideline Price: €29.99
This latest book by leading sociologist Tom Inglis reminded me of international qualityoflife and happiness surveys that usually place the Irish towards the top of the league tables. Inglis elaborates on why this might be, examining why we are the way we are and the meanings that can be attached to life in contemporary Ireland, based on interviews with 100 individuals from a variety of social and geographical backgrounds. As befits his status as an eminent and senior sociologist, Inglis grounds his work in the national and international literature of sociology, some of which might alienate the general reader, but the transcripts of the interviews are interesting because of the range of experiences they lay bare in relation to religion, politics, sport, love, money and, most significantly, family and community bonds and the “webs of meaning” that are spun by people in their everyday lives across all these areas. Inglis goes as far as to suggest that love “has become the secular religion of contemporary Ireland”. Not a bad web to be stuck in.