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Rastafari

Ennis Barrington Edmonds

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195133769
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195133765.001.0001
Rastafari

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Since its emergence in the margins of 1930s Jamaican society, Rastafari has moved to the forefront of Jamaican popular culture. This transition has been occasioned by Rastafari's own internal dynamics, by the gradual shift from a more conflict‐ridden relationship to rapprochement between the movement and the wider society, and by the ability of the movement to insert itself in the cultural life of the society. With regard to its internal development, Rastas have evolved a dynamic social ethos with informal social relationships facilitated through a network of “houses” and “mansions,” a highly developed view of the world expressed in a variety of symbols, and period ritual activities that initiate and confirm individuals in the principles and ethos of Rastafari. The relationship between Rastafari and the wider society has evolved from outright confrontation in the early years of the movement, to a more accommodating posture in the 1960s, to a more aggressive cooptation and use of Rastafarian symbols in the 1970s, and finally, to a positive embrace of Rastafarian contribution to the indigenous culture and the commodification of the Rastafarian image and symbols for “culture tourism” since the 1980s. Rastafarian influence on Jamaica's indigenous culture is quite pervasive, but the most celebrated influence has been on reggae, Jamaican popular music, made famous around the world by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Third World, and others. Though Rastafari does not have the centralized institutions that Max Weber regarded as necessary for routinization, the factors outlined above have contributed to its entrenchment in the fabric of Jamaica's cultural life.

Keywords: entrenchment; ethos; Bob Marley; popular culture; popular music; rapprochement; Rastafari; reggae; ritual activities; routinization; Weber

Book.  208 pages. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Rastafari

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Dread Uprising in Rastafari

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