Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers

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Rastafari. The word immediately conjures a host of strong, disparate images. To some, the Rastafarian Movement, which emerged from the ghettos of Jamaica in the 1930s, is embodied by a dreadlocked youth in a haze of marijuana smoke. To others, it represents an authentic, organic expression of working-class culture, a vibrant movement that has expanded to North America, the British Isles, and Africa. Ennis Barrington Edmonds moves beyond simple stereotypes to provide a compelling portrait of the Rastafarian phenomenon and chronicle how a once-obscure group, much maligned and persecuted as an internal threat to Jamaican society, became an international cultural force. He focuses in particular on the internal development of Rastafarianism as a social movement to track the process of this strikingly successful integration. He also demonstrates how African and Afro-Christian religions, Ethiopianism, and Garveyism were all fused into the Rastafari posture of resistance, organised as it is around charismatic figures. Rastafari presents an intimate account of a unique movement, which over the course of several decades institutionalised itself to become the international cultural, political, and musical force it is today.

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Oxford University Press Inc
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