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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Stanley-Niaah, Sonjah N.
Author Role
Presenters
Author Affiliation
Institute of Caribbean Studies
Paper/Section Title
Ritual and Community in Dancehall Performance
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Proceedings Title
Festivals and Events: Beyond Economic Impacts
Date of Meeting
July 6-8, 2005
Place of Meeting
Napier University. Edinburgh, Scotland
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Notes
A version of this paper was presented at the Sixteenth All African Students Conference, University of the West Indies, Mona. May 20-22, 2004.
Abstract
What is the nature of Dancehall performance? Can a Turnerian framework be used to illuminate its complexity? Using data from participant observation and interviews, the perspective in this paper moves the discourse on Dancehall beyond superficial understanding of 'resistance' and 'carnivalesque' space as analytical categories to sacred geographies in which events and lifestyles merge. Life-cycle and seasonal events including celebrations of birth, death, community, anniversary, victory and relationships reveal the ritual significance of Dancehallís performance practice creating a map that invokes Turnerís concepts of 'communitas' and 'liminality'. It is these concepts that are ultimately given renewed significance, not in a hegemonic sense that privileges the ritual of the 'natives', but through critical examination in a context of the tensions of an everyday occupied by ordinary folk who have consistently called attention to their practices by virtue of its power. This is a power to perform being, constitute new forms of community, entice international audiences, and transform self and identities. This author engages this quotidian postcolonial culture of celebration as a status-granting institution, a liminal field that recreates itself by virtue of its marginal creative ethos.....
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