I love myself when I am dancing and carrying on: refiguring the agency of black women's creative expression in Jamaican Dancehall culture
Abstract:This paper develops an account of black women's contribution to the development and continuity of Jamaican Dancehall culture. It focuses on what lies beyond a view dominated by oppression or a male viewpoint. I explore how lower class women bring creative expressions to bear on their experience of pain, negation and oppression, by insisting on the priority of their body's erotic agency. Through a combination of place, corporeal practices and imaginative display of the body, I suggest that existential pain is eroticized, re-membered and re-figured as joy. Rather than studying the lyrical content of deejays or the activities of men (which has dominated the debate on the culture) I attempt to write black women into the history of Dancehall culture and at the same time show how as active agents they pose a radical challenge to the puritanical bourgeois logic and accepted ideas of femininity pervasive in Jamaican society.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Warwick.
Publication date: December 1, 2005
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