Becoming Rasta: Origins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica

Becoming Rasta: Origins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica

by Charles Price
     
 

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So much has been written about the Rastafari, yet we know so little about why and how people join the Rastafari movement. Although popular understandings evoke images of dreadlocks, reggae, and marijuana, Rastafarians were persecuted in their country, becoming a people seeking social justice. Yet new adherents continued to convert to Rastafari despite facing

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Overview

So much has been written about the Rastafari, yet we know so little about why and how people join the Rastafari movement. Although popular understandings evoke images of dreadlocks, reggae, and marijuana, Rastafarians were persecuted in their country, becoming a people seeking social justice. Yet new adherents continued to convert to Rastafari despite facing adverse reactions from their fellow citizens and from their British rulers.

Charles Price draws on in-depth interviews to reveal the personal experiences of those who adopted the religion in the 1950s to 1970s, one generation past the movement's emergence . By talking with these Rastafari elders, he seeks to understand why and how Jamaicans became Rastafari in spite of rampant discrimination, and what sustains them in their faith and identity.

Utilizing new conceptual frameworks, Price explores the identity development of Rastafari, demonstrating how shifts in the movement’s identity—from social pariah to exemplar of Blackness—have led some of the elder Rastafari to adopt, embrace, and internalize Rastafari and blackness as central to their concept of self.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In an otherwise voluminous literature on Rastafaria, Price fills a void by presenting and critically analyzing the testimonies of Rastafarian men and women that narrate how they discovered, why they entered, and how they sustained membership in the culture, resistance, and theater that is Rastafaria. This book is one of the most important additions to the discourse on the Rastafarian movement to appear in years. Price reveals himself to be both a skilled cultural anthropologist and superb storyteller; the volume reads as much like a piece of literature as social scientific treatise.”

-William E. Cross, Jr.,author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity

"Price succeeds at exposing the Rastafarian diversity...[he] challenges the readers 'to realize these men and women have at least the courage of their conviction.'"-Michael D. Royster,Equinox Online

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814767689
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Charles Price is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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