Degree Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

Advisor(s)

Veljko Vujacic

Keywords

Rastafari, Jamaica, Culture

Abstract

This paper examines why the Rastafari-a religious group comprised mainly of poor, disenfranchised, black Jamaicans-can be labeled within a Weberian framework as a pariah group. This author has chosen to commence her analysis by providing an abridged history of the group beginning with their enslavement in Jamaica during the 1790s. Through an examination of primary sources by the Jamaican Rastafari community as well as secondary sources by scholars of Jamaican history and the Rastafari movement, the author has employed pariah group theory as developed by Max Weber and Hannah Arendt, in order to explain the unique circumstances that led to the emergence of the Rastafari movement in the 20th century. By comparing the Rastafari to other researched pariah groups like the Jews and the Dalits, the author has created a compelling case study for any sociologist interested in analyzing how a pariah group functions in post-colonial society. Moreover, the Rastafari's emergence in the twentieth century is of special significance since it led to the actualization of the black power movement in Jamaica and the spreading of a doctrine that promoted African pride, repatriation, reggae music, and ital living to the world.

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