Edwards, Norval R.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Literatures in English
States of emergency: Reggae representations of the Jamaican nation state
Social and Economic Studies
Date of Publication
Explores the representation of the postcolonial Jamaican state in the genre of 'toots and culture' reggae. Argues that this particular genre of reggae, noted primarily for its heavy emphasis on social commentary, contests the Jamaican political elite constructions which elide the problematic issues of race, class, and subordinated historical narratives, reggae songs render the nation state as a 'state of emergency' which is grounded in the imperatives of maintaining inherited colonial hierarchies. The millenarian worldview of Rastafari and the identity politics of Pan-Africanism provide ideological crucibles for reggae's oppositional critique of the Jamaican nation state. This critique, articulated as prophetic rhetoric, constitutes an alternative political and historical discourse that is legitimised by the dynamics of popular culture.....