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Dance to Buss: An Ethnographic Study of Dancehall Dancing in Jamaica
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Dancehall is an influential space of cultural creation and expression within Jamaican society. This study is about how Jamaican dancehall is being performed, and what this performance means to its participants. Dancehall is mainly practiced by lower-class Jamaicans. This thesis focuses on dancers as a specific group among these participants. During 15 weeks I lived in Kingston and participated in dancehall culture daily. The fieldwork was focused on one dance group called “The Black Eagles”. The dancehall is gender structured and most dancers are men who organize in male crews. Practicing dancehall can be seen as a cultural resistance to structural injustice, while it also works to enforce oppressive ideologies. Dancehall culture is criticized for being immoral, inappropriate and violent. Dancehall is a survival strategy for many lower-class Jamaicans and an alternative to a life in crime. The Black Eagles dance because they love it, but the main motivation for initiating a career as a dancehall dancer is the hope of getting a better life. Digital technology and social media have helped dancers to reach this goal. Through social media, the dancehall dance has gained international popularity. This thesis relates to broader themes such as development, poverty, globalization, gender and identity. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 91 p.
Keyword [en]
Dancing, dancehall, Jamaica, poverty, resistance, class conflict, social media, gender.
National Category
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96266OAI: diva2:664885
Available from: 2014-08-14 Created: 2013-11-18 Last updated: 2014-08-14Bibliographically approved

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