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Dreadlocks: The Hair Aesthetics of Cultural Resistance and C

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Olivia MacNaughton

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of Dreadlocks: The Hair Aesthetics of Cultural Resistance and C

Definition of Drealocks
Style of hair associated with the Rastafarian movement.
Significant to individuals connected with the African liberation other counterhegemonic social resistance movements.
In the 1950's and 1960's the style was embraced by Rastafarians to show symbolism to the African nationalists, anti-colonial characteristics of their beliefs.
During the 1970's dreadlocks scattered across other African populations. Maintained in descendants born in America, the Caribbean and Britain.
Dreadlocks: The Hair Aesthetics of Cultural Resistance and Collective Identity Formation

By Olivia MacNaughton and Velma Slade

Dreadlocks and Decolonized Collective Identity
As symbolic resistance and linkage to the African liberationists and counterhegemonic action frames, dreadlocks are indicative of an individual-level decolonization process.
Black Power Movement/African Liberation
Emerged in early 1960's.
Their identity negated European colonial-capitalists/racial dominance.
Rooted from collective and individual decolonization process which entails the reclamation of African pride, and the rejection of European dominance on political, economic and cultural levels.
Sociohistorical and Political Phases
1. Earliest Rastafarian phase (mid-1950's to mid-1970's)
2. African nationalist/Pan-Africanist fringe phase (mid-1970's to mid-1980's)
3. Broadened Counterhegemonic phase (mid-1980's to mid-1990's)
4. Transitional phase (early 1990's to present)

Rastafarian Movement
Dreadlock culture limited mainly to Jamaica after seeing images of African freedom fighters with long hair.
Struggles against the British ruling government within Jamaica.
Many influences that gave it rise like Marcus Garvey who was a religious leader, Leaonard Howel who was jailed for speaking out against allegiance to the English flag, and encouraging allegiance to Ethiopia.
The Second Phase
Declining politically.
Culture found its way into the United States.
Dreadlocks became a form of resistance to American social culture and a way to show their African pride.
Remain the link between resistance movements in present day.
Diminishing factors of social movements.
Throughout the 1990's their affiliation with radical politics have separated.
Have changed perspectives to a fashion trend.
Boundary Demarcation
Dreadlocks are indicative of an individual-level decolonization process.
Dreadlocks, in the 1990's still formed a linkage between movement ideology and personal experience.
People literally referred to their dreadlocks as facilitation "identity with African heritage...a way of affirming my African identity".
Dreadlocks were perceived to be representative of a high level of sociopolitical consciousness.
(more consciousness of themselves)
(freedom of expression)
All people interviewed either reasoned with a political answer or cultural answer as to why they have dreadlocks.
Respondents reported having an "obligation" to living up to certain standards associated with growing dreadlocks.
Some referred it to a internal decolonization process in other ways "defiance to self- hatred"
Dreadlocks correspond perfectly to the notion that negotiation implies "forms of political activism embedded in everyday life"
The negotiable struggle to continually imbue dreadlocks ad other collective identity markers with symbolic meaning has been a strategy of the movement is a struggle.
The Third Phase
Increase in African liberation philosophy (ex. anti-apartheid movements, especially on college campuses.)
Other groups used this hairstyle (Homosexuals, Feminists, Marxists.)
Dreadlocks no longer just stood for African liberation, they had many meanings by this time.
Current Phase
Arose in 1990.
Dreadlocks once stood for a social movement, now has no connection.
Becoming more popular as a fashion trend rather than reflecting on a political movement.
The Dreadlock Sensation
Dreadlocks are shown to emphasize African background, resistance towards European culture, and liberation. The style portrays the significance of cultural and symbolic identity in social movements. There are more people growing dreadlocks than there were about 50 years ago.
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