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Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount SPR14

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Julie Jenkins

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount SPR14

Race, Class, & Dancehall in Mango Mount
"culturally constructed label (classification) that crudely and imprecisely describes real (human) variation" (Relethford).

--biologically/genetically meaningless classification
-history of Jamaica
-historical construction of race & class
--how these are related to the economic & political structures of Jamaica
--how these have been contested via religion & musical expression
--How people in Mango Mount experience, interpret, contest, and reproduce national ideologies and structures locally, esp race & class
Mango Mount
-6 miles outside Kingston
-5% middle class
-moved into during 1950s
--group defined in terms of wealth, occupation or other economic criteria
--but also can have specific values, norms, ideas, language associated with a class-group
How do members of Mango Mount think about race? How do they classify those that they interact with?
--not soley based on phenotype
--tied to social and occupational behaviors
Occupations symbolically coded in racial terms
--'Black'- attachment to land, farmers
--'Brown'- detached from land, civil servants, professionals
--'White'- attachment to land as owners
"Another woman is brown, but she's really black. But she's brown because she's married to a brown man and she leads the Anglican church, so her family unit is brown and therefore middle class, though she didn't grow up that way. It is her husband's job that give the family its status rather than hers."
face to face interaction does not extend to whole groups and how people in these groups are expected to behave
How is each class expected to behave?
-'White'- oppressive
-'Brown'- civic minded, help poor
-'Black'- to be poor
How do members of Mango Mount think about community belonging?
-'brown' middle-class as strangers
Do members of different class groups in Mango Mount have the same educational opportunities and experiences?
--middle class able to send children to schools in Kingston
--lower class less able to do so
--All Age school- poor quality, multi-grade setting
--lower class felt like opps are thwarted b/c of lack of educational opps and professional contacts (primary route to social mobility)
Do members of different class groups socialize together?
--social contact is not the same as socializing!
Middle- class: cities
Lower -class: "Square"
What kinds of values do the middle-class associate with the Square?
--make moral judgements about the values and quality of persons
"Dem people not going forward in life. All them do is smoke spliff and drink all white rum and tun themselves wutless"
lazy, uncultured, undisciplined, lack of ambition
also generational perception
Racial and moralizing discourse about Dancehall
Midde class: --"slackness", noisy, immoral
lower class-- don't think middle class can appreciate and identify with

What kinds of divisions exist within the lower class? How do these divisions affect their understanding of social mobility?
'Original families'
--access to land
--social resource, security
--mobility via educational opps and economic diversification
--understand education as central to economic advancement and progress
--adheres to values of 'trhift, industry, community uplift, education
Later arrivals-- 70s
-avoid violence of Kingston
--limited ability to buy land, so rent/squat
--unable to send children to school beyond All Age
--Reproducing poverty
--Do NOT see education as aventue for social/economic mobility
--distrust of education as 'equalizing' institution
--focus on acquisition of wealth and status for social/economic mobility
--even if it is through illicit means.
--also also affecting most youth in 90s-
--education isn't translating into more/better economic opportunities
-unemployment rate is higher for those with 2ndary education
Reason why Dancehall becomes popular
--"morally incorrect" b/c rejects assumption eduacation and middle-class values are route to mobility
--valorizes captialism, individualism, consumerism
How does one's understanding of their class/race position affect their political participation?
-Reproduction of ideas that middle class are best suited to lead b/c of educational achievements, resources, contacts
Debates on lack of engagement
--leaders are unable to be trusted
--sitting back and waiting for action
"Respectable poor" more likey to participate
--others interpreted as lacking in educational or occupational achievement b/c of backward/immoral values
--RATHER THAN the way opps and resources are unequally structured
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