chapter  7
Shame and transgressive female sexuality in Ireland
Pages 9

The struggle of church and state to maintain the patriarchal family unit via its hold on female sexuality and fertility seems to go hand in hand with the search for/promotion of a national identity and with attempts to attain or maintain economic stability. This chapter focuses on the shaming of women whose sexual behaviour undermines the patriarchal family emerging as a mechanism for social and economic control. Coming from a sociological perspective, Inglis is careful to set out the context of the case of the Kerry babies and to locate the narratives that together comprise the story of the case in their precise social, religious and political milieu. Traditional Irish family life was viewed as the solution to Ireland's social and economic instability. Engels asserted that the patriarchal family was a product of the development of the state and succeeded communal property ownership as the economic unit.