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“Mad Dogs and Transnational Migrants?” Bajan-Brit Second-Generation Migrants and Accusations of Madness

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Abstract:

Second-generation British-Barbadians (“Bajan-Brits”) returning to the land of their parents are frequently accused by indigenous Barbadian nationals of being mad. Narratives of the migrants reflect four major sets of factors: (1) madness as perceived behavioral and cultural differences; (2) explanations that relate to the historical-clinical circumstances surrounding the incidence of mental ill health among first-generation West Indian migrants to the United Kingdom; (3) madness as a pathology of alienation that is attendant on living in Barbados; and (4) madness as “othering,”“outing,” and “fixity.” British second-generation “returning nationals” to the Caribbean, living as they do in the plural world of the land of their parents' birth, after having been raised in the colonial “Mother Country,” exhibit hybridity and in-betweenness. Accusations of madness serve to fix the position of these young migrants outside the mainstream of indigenous Barbadian society. Our analysis invokes recent postcolonial writings dealing with “strange encounters” to theorize that the madness accusation serves to “other” the young Bajan-Brit migrants in a strongly postcolonial context.

Keywords: Barbados; madness; othering; second-generation migrants; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.2006.00707.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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