Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers

by Ennis Barrington Edmonds

Oxford University Press | November 15, 2002 | Hardcover |

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Since its emergence from the ghettoes of West Kingston, Jamaica in the 1930s, the Rastafarian Movement has been transformed from an obscure group of outcasts to a vibrant movement that has not only become firmly entrenched in Jamaican society, but has successfully expanded beyond the Caribbean to North America, the British Isles, and Africa. Ennis Barrington Edmonds provides a compelling portrait of the Rastafarian phenomenon and chronicles how a once-obscure group, much maligned and persecuted, became a dominant cultural force in the world today. Edmonds charts the evolution of the relationship between Rastafari and the wider Jamaican society. In the early years of the movement, there was outright confrontation and repression, as Rastas were seen as a threat to Jamaican society. This evolved into a grudging tolerance and eventually an aggressive appropriation of Rastafarian symbols in the 1970s and 1980s--as evidenced by the veritable coronation of reggae artist Bob Marley--resulting in the "culture tourism" of the late twentieth century. Edmonds focuses in particular on the internal development of Rastafarianism as a social movement, with its network of "houses" (small, informal groups that form around leading Rastas) and "mansions" (larger, more communal associations), to track the process of this strikingly successful integration. He further demonstrates how Rastafarian artistic creativity, especially in fashioning the music and message of reggae, was a significant factor in the transition of Rastas from the status of outcasts to the position of culture bearers. Rastafari presents an intimate account of a unique movement, which over the course of several decades had entrenched itself in Jamaican society and has become the international cultural and political force it is today.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 Pages, 9.06 × 5.91 × 0.79 in

Published: November 15, 2002

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0195133765

ISBN - 13: 9780195133769

Found in: Religion and Spirituality

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Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers

Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers

by Ennis Barrington Edmonds

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 Pages, 9.06 × 5.91 × 0.79 in

Published: November 15, 2002

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0195133765

ISBN - 13: 9780195133769

From the Publisher

Since its emergence from the ghettoes of West Kingston, Jamaica in the 1930s, the Rastafarian Movement has been transformed from an obscure group of outcasts to a vibrant movement that has not only become firmly entrenched in Jamaican society, but has successfully expanded beyond the Caribbean to North America, the British Isles, and Africa. Ennis Barrington Edmonds provides a compelling portrait of the Rastafarian phenomenon and chronicles how a once-obscure group, much maligned and persecuted, became a dominant cultural force in the world today. Edmonds charts the evolution of the relationship between Rastafari and the wider Jamaican society. In the early years of the movement, there was outright confrontation and repression, as Rastas were seen as a threat to Jamaican society. This evolved into a grudging tolerance and eventually an aggressive appropriation of Rastafarian symbols in the 1970s and 1980s--as evidenced by the veritable coronation of reggae artist Bob Marley--resulting in the "culture tourism" of the late twentieth century. Edmonds focuses in particular on the internal development of Rastafarianism as a social movement, with its network of "houses" (small, informal groups that form around leading Rastas) and "mansions" (larger, more communal associations), to track the process of this strikingly successful integration. He further demonstrates how Rastafarian artistic creativity, especially in fashioning the music and message of reggae, was a significant factor in the transition of Rastas from the status of outcasts to the position of culture bearers. Rastafari presents an intimate account of a unique movement, which over the course of several decades had entrenched itself in Jamaican society and has become the international cultural and political force it is today.

About the Author

Born and raised in Jamaica, Ennis Barrington Edmonds is a sociologist of religion and was Director of Pan African Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Barnard College from 1996-2001.

Editorial Reviews

"Ennis Edmonds''s Rastafari is cogently written and persuasive. I am undecided as to which is more valuable, its contribution to the literature on charisma and routinization or its contribution to the literature on Rastafari. In truth it is a fine introduction to Weber''s thesis on the institution of religion and at the same time an excellent explanation to anyone trying to understand how it is that after seven decades Rastafari is such an integral part of the Jamaican mindscape but must still fight for its legitimacy."--Barry Chevannes, author of Rastafari: Roots and Ideology
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