The Hyphenated Persona: Aidan Quinn’s Irish-American Performances

Loretta Goff

Abstract


This article examines the hyphenated Irish-American identity performed by actor Aidan Quinn across a number of his media appearances. Hyphenated identities are frequently used in our increasingly globalised, migratory world to consolidate two or more national identifications into a singular, new identity. However, the performances of such identities are often complicated by shifting levels of identification, in line with the concept of identity salience, which result in multiple, protean identity performances—from either side of the hyphen—drawn upon as needed. “Celebrity identities” as a construct forms an ideal category for a broader exploration of hyphenated identity performance, as their highly visible public identities most overtly demonstrate the continuous processes of (economically influenced) construction, performance and negotiation that comprise all identity formation. Aidan Quinn, who holds dual United States and Irish citizenship, has spent significant time living in each country, is vocal about his connection to both and is often framed accordingly in the media, makes an ideal case study for examining the nuances of Irish-American identity performance which are magnified as a result his stardom. By looking at how the actor frames (and is framed regarding) his national connections, I interrogate the intricacies of how his experiences in each country are combined in some instances and separated in others, and ultimately argue that the two sides of his hyphenated Irish-American persona are largely kept separate, resulting in multiple identity performances rather than forming a cohesive, singular performance.


Keywords


Irish-American; Aidan Quinn; Hyphenated Identity; Celebrity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/ps2017vol3no1art646

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