With the men meeting next week and the ISSP summer school upcoming, I have not been able to post here for a bit. This is not to say that the thesis is taking a back seat while I pull my greying hair out by summarising other people’s bad research. There have been two bright points on my research horizon. The first was a conversation I had with the heritage officer at Dublin City Council two weeks ago. I had spent some of a long weekend trawling through the minutes of Dublin Corporation’s (as was) meetings from the period 1931 to 1934 and again between 1950 and 1970. This is possible at Pearse Street’s fantastic City Archive. I was looking for mentions of Christian statues and their placement or replacement. I thought that minutes might offer some clues as to their location in the city but no, afraid not. I did find a whole load of other references to large amounts of public money given to help decorate the city for the 1932 Eucharistic Congress and charted the changes in the context for city planning from the mid-1960s.
One of the archivists there recommended I contact the city’s heritage officer and I am very glad I talked with Charles Duggan. An exemplar public servant, Duggan has offered me access to the statuary database that his office holds. As tempted as I was to run to the station, catch a train and sprint the quays, I had to defer a visit to the municipal bunkers for a bit, oh yea, because of work. He was also good enough to email me a sample picture of a Marian statue re-inserted into a refurbished residential development in Dublin 8. How and why a Marian statue would be replaced after a refurbishment is directly related to one of the three parts of my fieldwork.
The second bright light on the research horizon is a work project to talk with parents in nominally Catholic schools about school choice. In 2008, I coordinated a quantitative project on parental choice of primary schools. Later this year, I am going to be heading up a qualitative project on school choice. In the whirling political space over ‘ownership and control’, the project is ….I cannot really say just now. With luck, the data from this project will feed into the doctoral research and I’ve received in-principle backing for that.
See what gets me excited?