‘Character’ was a key term in the early development of Anthropology as a discipline – Kant gives over the entire last section of his to refining the idea of character as a ‘way of thinking’. Perhaps inevitably, however, its ideological career since then – as the mark of a kind, or type of person – has been highly ambivalent. In the Caribbean, though, the idiosyncratic biographical gaze has loomed large. This article explores the status of character in an urban Caribbean everyday, where the demonstration of character through ‘talkover’ has profound social effects. Where does character come from? And what is its futurity in a social setting where no one can lay claim to autochthony, yet where ‘gifts’ are foundational to the ‘respect’ someone can command? Character belongs partly to the past as ‘a priority’, partly to the future as utopian protention.
Mobility is not just a theme running throughout Caribbean history, but describes a conceptual approach and theoretical framework for better understanding the region. This review seeks to situate the history of Caribbean tourism in relation to a wider field of mobility studies in the region and highlights recent research in this area.
For a cosmopolitan anthropology
Mette Louise Berg
This article argues that for a truly cosmopolitan anthropology to come about, we need to reflect critically on the conditions of our knowledge production. Using the example of women's under‐representation within anthropology, and the marginalisation of the Caribbean, I argue that we need to think more about the social ground beneath our feet and recognise the differential access that anthropologists across the globe and at home have to the ongoing larger conversation that constitutes the discipline. We like to think that universities are republics of letters in the Enlightenment spirit, in which free‐flowing conversations take place between equals. Yet like other domains of knowledge production, academia is embedded in hierarchical structures imbued with power. We need to situate our ongoing conversation and our commitment to a cosmopolitan anthropology in this broader context.
Culture and Decolonization in the Dutch Caribbean, 1948–1975
This article explores the history of the Foundation for Cultural Cooperation between the Netherlands, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles (Sticusa), asking how cultural institutions partook in the process of decolonization. Analyzing the perspectives of Sticusa collaborators and critics in the Caribbean, I argue that cultural actors saw decolonization as an opportunity to reorient cultures toward an emergent world order. In this process, they envisioned a range of horizons, from closer integration with Europe to enhanced affinity with the broader Americas. By the 1970s, however, these horizons narrowed to the attainment of national sovereignty, and Sticusa’s cultural experiment ended as a result.
Montserratian Migrants' Experiences of Global Processes in British Methodism
Migrants to Europe often perceive themselves as entering a secular society that threatens their religious identities and practices. Whilst some sociological models present their responses in terms of cultural defence, ethnographic analysis reveals a more complex picture of interaction with local contexts. This essay draws upon ethnographic research to explore a relatively neglected situation in migration studies, namely the interactions between distinct migration cohorts - in this case, from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, as examined through their experiences in London Methodist churches. It employs the ideas of Weber and Bourdieu to view these migrants as 'religious carriers', as collective and individual embodiments of religious dispositions and of those socio-cultural processes through which their religion is reproduced. Whilst the strategies of the cohort migrating after the Second World War were restricted through their marginalised social status and experience of racism, the recent cohort of evacuees fleeing volcanic eruptions has had greater scope for strategies which combat secularisation and fading Methodist identity.
The Case of Social Suffering in the French Caribbean
Structural violence has become a central concept in critical medical anthropology. It emphasises the importance of structural health determinants such as poverty, political violence and other collateral aspects of globalization. Diseases and epidemics are viewed as being pathologies of power. The goal of anthropology is no longer to analyse the influence of culture on illness and disease, but rather to engage in pragmatic efforts to remedy social inequalities that express themselves through ill-health. Such opposition between culture and politics may not be consistent with the need for a comprehensive anthropology that emphasizes the subtle and complex articulations between the multiple dimensions of health. Based on an analysis of depression and social suffering in postcolonial Martinique (French Caribbean), a plea is made for a new understanding of the relationship between local idioms of distress on the one hand and intermediate social, political and economical factors on the other. There is also a discussion of some of the pitfalls related to an exclusive focus on the political economy of health.
William F.S. Miles
Once again, Martinique confounds by voting. In 2002, incumbent president Jacques Chirac obtained his highest final result throughout all of France— Metropolitan and overseas—in this département français d’Amérique (DFA). Chirac’s otherwise overwhelming score for the Republic as a whole—82 percent— was modest compared with the 96 percent he obtained in Martinique.
Jennifer Anne Boittin, Christina Firpo, and Emily Musil Church
This article looks at French Indochina, metropolitan France, and French West Africa from 1914 through 1946 to illustrate specific ways in which French colonial authority operated across the French empire. We look at how colonized people challenged the complex formal and informal hierarchies of race, class, and gender that French administrators and colonizers sought to impose upon them. We argue that both the French imperial prerogatives and colonized peoples' responses to them are revealed through directly comparing and contrasting various locales across the empire. Our case studies explore interracial families and single white women seeking compensation from the French in Indochina, black men de ning their masculinity, and Africans debating women's suffrage rights.
Symbols and Lived Experiences in Caribbean Migration to the UK
Huon Wardle and Laura Obermuller
docked in Britain in 1948, among its 492 passengers was the advance party for an entire British Caribbean community in the making, or so it can appear in retrospect. 2 Windrush and its moment of arrival have become iconic of a new way of being British