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Reproducing Domination Identity and Legitimacy Constructs in the West Indies

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Emerging from the historical conditions of colonialism, educated elites from middle strata groups were able to mount successful challenges to colonial power almost everywhere. This was accomplished in the West Indies through the shaping and fashioning of an ideology of Afro-creole nationalism. The latter catapulted the political leadership of these groups into positions of control in post-colonial institutions of government1. Once achieved, such control was employed to satisfy the accumulative power, prestige, and status interests of their middle strata supporters. Afro-creole nationalism served also to legitimise the continued dominance of international economic capital while making available to this ascendant elite international resources of power. In this manner, the penetration of international economic capital was intensified in the post-colonial state. Such penetration was both direct and orchestrated through diplomatic representatives of governments and representatives of bilateral and multilateral agencies directly linked to international capitalist interests. I will focus on the appropriation of symbolic capital in the form of Afro-creole nationalism by elite representatives of these ascendant middle strata groups in the English-speaking West Indies. I will demonstrate how such capital was employed to fashion constructs of identity and legitimacy. Finally, I will focus on the role these constructs played in the reproduction of a Manichean order of domination in West Indian post-colonial formations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1997

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