Culture and the Global Spread
of the Jamaican
Neil J. Savishinsky
Beginning in Jamaica in the early 1970s, the Rastafarian movement spread rapidly around the world. The author suggests that the rapid global dissemination of this movement was facilitated by the reggae music associated with it. This transnational popular culture complex has been seized upon particularly by groups marginalized within their own countries and represents religion, lifestyle, and sociopolitical resistance to its followers. --Editors' Comment
The need to place culture in a broader, more globally-based perspective has never been more crucial than it is today, as powerful transnational concerns, acting in concert with the omnipresent (and increasingly omnipotent) forces of a rapidly expanding electronic communications industry, have nearly succeeded in consolidating the entire planet into a single unified system. 1 But until recently most social scientists engaged in world systems research have focused solely on the political and economic aspects of globalization, leaving unexamined vast and relatively uncharted areas of cultural interconnectedness (in the realms of art, music, cinema, fashion, sports, and religion, for example).
This article attempts to redress some of these omissions, by focusing on processes relating to the diffusion and globalization of "culture." The Jamaican Rastafarian movement and its attendant forms of expression are central to this____________________