Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean

Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean

Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean

Narratives of Resistance: Jamaica, Trinidad, the Caribbean

Synopsis

This is a hard-hitting analysis of contemporary social, political and intellectual resistance to hegemony in Caribbean societies. Beginning with the "obscure" Henry Rebellion in 1960, at the very end of colonial rule, and ending with a look at the Caribbean Left at the end of the twentieth century, Meeks shows how popular resistance to domination has been manifested in Jamaica and Trinidad.

He concludes that, for the small island states and mainland territories of the Caribbean, despite the social and economic crises of the recent past, there is still the possibility of social and political revival and popular renewal.

Excerpt

If there is a central thesis to this volume, it is this: Despite the social and. economic crises of the recent past, despite the increased marginalization of the Caribbean and of its poor, there is embedded in the common resistance of the people the real, though still very tentative possibility of a social and political revival. Central to such a project, however, is the development of new modes of thought oriented towards recognizing and valorizing the social and political praxis of the subaltern. Until Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean come to terms with the majority of its people and their history, until new modes of democracy, both national and transnational, are introduced to subvert the old, restrictive, hierarchical structures, the possibility of a popular renewal is likely to be frustrated.

Beyond this, the aims are threefold. First, unlike my earlier studies, which were more reliant on a comparative, Caribbean frame of reference, this one seeks to focus (though not exclusively) on the Jamaican matrix. This is done to better grasp the nature of the social and political dimensions of what is elsewhere described as a moment of "hegemonic dissolution". Second, it seeks to probe the notion of hegemony and to explore contemporary forms of social, political and intellectual resistance to this hegemony as it is manifested in Jamaica, Trinidad and elsewhere in the Caribbean. And third, there is an effort to implicitly introduce elements of an alternative methodology. There is an attempt, launching off from Antonio Gramsci, James Scott and others, to weave a path between dae behaviouralist/institutionalist traditions of West Indian social sciences and, later, mechanistic Marxist approaches. This is evident not only in the approach to the analysis of history and data but, hopefully, to the style of writing itself. A concerted attempt is made to depart from the international aid agency approach of 'consultancy' writing, which . . .

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