I-Sight

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Overview

Rastafari is one of the most significant yet least understood new religious movements in the twentieth century. Originating in Jamaica in the 1930s, it has evolved into a popular international phenomenon. Yet scholars have continued to view Rastafari in a marginal way as an other-worldly, fragile, or avant-garde social emergent. This book argues, rather, that Rastafari represents a transformative consciousness of "I-Sight" which is paradigmatic of a new social ethic. This ethic reflects a distinctive ...
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Overview

Rastafari is one of the most significant yet least understood new religious movements in the twentieth century. Originating in Jamaica in the 1930s, it has evolved into a popular international phenomenon. Yet scholars have continued to view Rastafari in a marginal way as an other-worldly, fragile, or avant-garde social emergent. This book argues, rather, that Rastafari represents a transformative consciousness of "I-Sight" which is paradigmatic of a new social ethic. This ethic reflects a distinctive self-understanding (I-n-I), lifestyle (livity), and center of value (Ethiopia). The author is the first researcher to interpret Rasta poetry and song lyrics in relation to systematically constructed concepts of Jamaican religion and culture. Analyzing the meaning of key symbols in a wide cross-section of dub and other Rasta poetic expressions in the past quarter century, he explains many of the ambiguities and inconsistencies in the previous scholarship on Rastafari. As an interpretive sociological account of Rastafarian ethics, the book should be of interest to students and scholars in cultural analysis, Caribbean Studies, new religious movements and ethics, as well as students of English literature and aesthetics.
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Editorial Reviews

Theology Digest
His extensive research into their [Rastafarians] lives and beliefs, and especially their poetry, shows that they are misunderstood because they are contercultural, egalitarian and without organized structure.
Booknews
Originating in Jamaica in the 1930s, Rastafari is one of the most significant yet least understood new religious movements of the 20th century, having been marginalized and having received little serious study. Johnson-Hill argues that Rastafari represents a transformative consciousness which is paradigmatic of a unique social ethic reflecting a distinctive self-understanding, lifestyle, and center of values. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810828957
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Series: ATLA Monograph Series , #35
  • Pages: 422
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Johnson-Hill is Visiting Professor of Ethics in the Faculty of Theology, University of Durban-Westville (South Africa).
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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Introduction to Rastafari and the Scholarship on the Movement
1 Origins and Development 3
Who is a Rastafarian? 3
The Social and Cultural Context: Afro-Jamaican Consciousness in Plantation America 9
The Birth of a Movement 17
Rastafari Today: A New Consciousness 22
2 The Scholarship on Rastafari: The Problem of Impenetrability 41
The Seminal Ethnographic Research 42
The Major Sociological Studies 49
The Public Policy Commentaries 54
Pt. II The Theoretical Perspective: The Life-World
3 Contours of the Life-World and the Rasta Poetic Symbol 69
Toward a Definition of Symbol 73
Rasta Symbols as Afro-Caribbean Poetry 76
4 Everyday Life as Liminal Process 91
Liminality as Social Scientific Construct 92
Liminal Consciousness in Afro-Jamaican History 98
Liminal Consciousness in Contemporary Experience 105
5 Religion as Trans-Social Context 121
Toward a Definition of Religion 121
Religious Consciousness in a Liminal Arena 128
Rastafari as a Liminal Religious Awareness 131
Pt. III The Disclosure of the World of Rastafari
6 The Concept of Self: I-n-I 143
Roots Are I 144
I Dwelling with the Poor 159
I Sight 179
7 The Lifestyle: Livity 201
The I-tal Ethos 202
I-n-I Come to Recreate 216
Reflection in Red 235
8 The Vision of Good and Evil: From Babylon to Ethiopia 257
Chanting Down Babylon 257
Ipatriation to Ethiopia 279
Pt. IV Conclusion: A Summary of the Argument and Implications for Research
9 Rastafari in Sociological and Ethical Perspective 307
Rastafari in Retrospect 307
Implications for the Sociology of Religion 316
Rastafari as a Resource for Social Ethics 327
Appendix A: The English-Speaking Caribbean Tradition of Poetry 341
Appendix B: The Source Materials: Rastafarian Poetry 349
Bibliography 353
Index 387
About the Author 399
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2005

    InI

    It is impossible to fully overstand InI culture. For one theres the fact that we do not originate nor were we first seen in Jamaica. The reader should know that as long as we serve His Majesty, there will be people who try to overmine or undermine us. We who are called Rasta, have served under every Emperor since Makeda's son, and we will continue our tradition regardless of how any society views us. Everyday spent in this world brings new blessings and wealth, and we are ever thankful of these blessings from JAH. My advice is that you come to Zion and see for yourself. No book or picture can capture the beauty of Rastafari.

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