Cultural Politics and Caribbean Narratives

Alleyne, Brian. 2006. Cultural Politics and Caribbean Narratives. In: Jean Besson and Karen Fog Olwig, eds. Caribbean Narratives of Belonging: Fields of Relations, Sites of Identity. Macmillan Caribbean, pp. 263-279. ISBN 1-4050-1879-8 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

In this essay I use a case study of a cultural activist project in order to explore the value of autobiographical narrative for sociological understanding of the cultural politics of postwar Caribbean settlement in Britain In presenting the following account, I am seeking an interpretative understanding of a group of persons and their milieu. My account, typically for the human sciences, is bound in a double hermeneutic: my own descriptions and interpretations are interwoven with the descriptions and interpretations of my informants. Three ideas shape my approach in what follows: imagination, the life seen as a project, and praxis. ‘Writing culture’ is among other things, an exercise in imagination. Even if we are not greatly concerned with the problem of other minds and whether we can know them, we must confront the fact of ethnographic work as partly to do with creating narrative, and thus with textual rendering of the workings of our imagination. In his classic text, The Sociological Imagination, C. W. Mills held that the central problem to which social science should address itself is the relation between 'private troubles' and 'public issues'; this relation is complicated by modernity's strict separation of public from private spheres.

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4 January 2006Published

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22 Nov 2017 15:05

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01 Jul 2021 11:48


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