Rastafari: From Outcasts to Cultural Bearers

Paperback | March 15, 2008

byEnnis Barrington Edmonds

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Once an obscure group of outcasts from the ghettoes of West Kingston, Jamaica, the Rastafarians have transformed themselves into a vibrant movement, firmly grounded in Jamaican society and beyond. In Rastafari, Ennis Barrington Edmonds provides a compelling portrait of the Rastafarianphenomenon and chronicles how this 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, from confrontation and repression to grudging tolerance and eventually tocultural integration. 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 strikinglysuccessful 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 cultural bearers.

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Once an obscure group of outcasts from the ghettoes of West Kingston, Jamaica, the Rastafarians have transformed themselves into a vibrant movement, firmly grounded in Jamaican society and beyond. In Rastafari, Ennis Barrington Edmonds provides a compelling portrait of the Rastafarianphenomenon and chronicles how this group, much mali...

Ennis Barrington is an Assistant Professor at Kenyon College.

other books by Ennis Barrington Edmonds

Format:PaperbackDimensions:212 pages, 5.98 × 8.9 × 0.39 inPublished:March 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195340485

ISBN - 13:9780195340488

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"Ennis Edmonds provides a lucid and thought-provoking argument for how Rastafari has become established as a mainstay in Jamaican culture. Modifying Weberian notions of routinization and charisma, Edmonds demonstrates how Rastafari symbols have permeated Jamaican society, ensuring the continuedexistence of the movement despite its minimal formal structure. Rastafari is important not only to scholars of Caribbean religions, but to anyone interested in how new religions find a stable place in society."--Richard C. Salter, Department of Religious Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges"Not only does Edmonds' work provide an engaging introduction to the history, cosmology, structure and ritual of Rastafari, it also presents a strong framework for understanding how this religious movement grew from its roots among a group of "denigrated outcasts" to a world religion withoutdeveloping the institutional forms that scholars generally associate with religions. With a sophisticated reworking of Max Weber's theory of charisma and routinization, Edmonds sheds light on the development of this particular movement but also poses challenging questions about the histories ofreligious movements more broadly. Edmonds' work is essential reading for anyone interested in Rastafari and in theoretical approaches to religious movements."--Judith Weisenfeld, Department of Religion, Vassar College"Edmonds's work sounds a new depth in the maturing of the scholarship on Rastafari. Not simply another general introduction, this book adapts Weber's theory of charisma and rountinization to analyze Rastafari, thereby breaking new scholarly ground andyielding many intriguing insights to ourcollective knowledge of this globally-impacting two-thirds world identity movement. As such, this study is a welcome contribution."--William David Spencer, author of Dread Jesus and co-editor of Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader"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 ofreligion 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