EDUCATION AND SOCIAL MOBILITY

THE CASE OF THE JAMAICAN PEASANT

Book Cover: EDUCATION AND SOCIAL MOBILITY

Education and Social Mobility: The Case of the Jamaican Peasant was written and published in 2008. As background, the Paper describes:

  1. The four major institutions that formed the peasant communities, (free villages) that newly freed slaves established to enable themselves to move off plantations and away from the degradation of slavery.
  2. The three main periods of engagement of the Colonial State with public education between 1834 and 1962 in Jamaica: The Delinquent Colonial State, 1834 to 1865; the Benevolent Colonial State 1866 to 1899 and the Re-aligned Colonial State 1900 to 1962.
  3. Changes in the involvement of Christian denominations over the period 1834 to 1962

Against this background the Paper details the patriarchal communities that free villagers, with support from dissenting Christian Denominations, established  to rectify the matrifocal forms that had developed in slavery and how these translated into male-biased upward social mobility patterns that favored men and boys in the 19th century as well as how female-biased upward social mobility patterns emerged in the 20th century as the Colonial State, with the support of Christian Denominations, favored education of girls and women. The Paper documents empirical data on school enrolment and literacy disaggregated by gender, race, and age to provide evidence of the shifts in patterns described.

The Paper concludes with a discussion of what the patterns of relations between education and upward social mobility of the descendants of African ancestry in Jamaica, over more than a century, contribute to two seminal debates on the legacy of slavery and African retentions. The first debate was in the United States in the late 1930s and early 1940s between E. Franklin Frazier, "The Negro Family in the United States", and Melville J. Herskovits, "The Myth of the Negro Past". The second was between Raymond T Smith and Michael G Smith in the 1960s about the nature of Caribbean societies.

References are also made to the works of Edith Clarke, ‘My Mother Who Fathered Me’ and George Beckford, ‘Persistent Poverty’. The observation is made that while the Case of the Jamaican peasant is congruent with some positions taken by these sociologists, anthropologists, and economists, the central consideration appears to be the structure of opportunity sponsored by groups controlling the State and the cross-purposes of those participating in the education system.

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Defining the Caribbean by some of its contradictions

Book Cover: Defining the Caribbean by some of its contradictions

A Conference was planned for the year 2000 on the Theme: The Intellectual Traditions of the Caribbean. I was invited and submitted this Paper: Defining the Caribbean by its Contradictions. The paper was accepted for presentation at the Conference which did not take place. It is therefore referenced here as a Mimeograph Paper.

Defining the Caribbean by its Contradictions does not describe the Intellectual Traditions of the Caribbean directly. Rather, it proposes the major contradictions and cross-currents of Caribbean experience which shape and influence ways of knowing, patterns of thought, mindsets, and genres of argumentation from which Caribbean Intellectual Traditions emerge as they seek to address the unresolved tensions inherent in these contradictions. Implicitly the paper asserts that Caribbean Intellectual Traditions are dynamic and not static and have to be understood from the perspective of imperatives that are neither fixed nor final.

The Paper explores six major contradictions and cross-currents that mark the Caribbean. These are:

  1. Migrant mainstreams
  2. Dominant minorities and marginal majorities
  3. Modern societies of modest means
  4. Cultural cradle on the economic periphery
  5. Common history, identity and destiny punctuated by diverse insularities
  6. Creative folk and conforming intelligentsia.
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