Caribbean Sociology

Topics: Saint Lucia, Sociology, Caribbean Pages: 11 (3396 words) Published: November 13, 2014



Every discourse has a context. Every discourse has a motive. The Sociology that developed in 19th century France was a response to the social crisis that was experienced there at that time. The Sociology that developed in 19th century France had a context. The man who is considered to be the founding father of Sociology, Auguste Comte was convinced that a science of society was possible and would be capable of reconstructing French society. The major problematic of France in the 19th century was the need to reconstruct French society. Thus, the motive of 19th century European Sociology was to develop principles that would guide the reconstruction of France. It is extremely important to recognize that Auguste Comte was motivated by the need to make a contribution to the development of his society. As sociologists of the Caribbean, we cannot overlook this critical component of sociological discourse. Sociologists of the Caribbean must focus on making a contribution to the upliftment of the people of the Caribbean. In order to do this, we must identify the major problematic of the region i.e. the context upon which a genuine sociology of the Caribbean is built.

Caribbean Sociologists can make a positive contribution to the development of the region. However, in order to this, they must adopt a highly critical perspective. We cannot continue to engage in what Holmes and Crossley (2004) refer to as the “uncritical, intercultural transfer of knowledge and models of development”. While sociological models of the Caribbean (plural, creole, plantation society theses) focus on the outer-structural features of the Caribbean reality, it is important to appreciate that Caribbean society is reflected in a powerful way in the consciousness of Caribbean people. The peculiarity and complexity of the reality that is the Caribbean lies in the fact that making sense of the Caribbean is not simply about unravelling the denouement of social structure; moreso, it is about a peculiar and complex experience. The Caribbean experience is about human beings struggling to find a sense of place. This comes out powerfully in the work of Derek Walcott. In the poem “A Far Cry From Africa”, Walcott writes:

“I who am poisoned with the blood of both, where shall I turn divided to the vein? I who have cursed the drunken officer of British rule, how choose I between this Africa and the English tongue I love? I betray them both or give back what they give? How can I face such slaughter and be cool? How can I turn from Africa and live?”

Derek Walcott’s work must be seen as a response to his experience of the Caribbean and as such must be regarded as sociological. Sociology is a response to social conditions. It does not have to be a science. It has to be true. We need to examine the Caribbean reality through pure lenses. The Caribbean region is an invaded space – a space invaded by capitalism. The notion invaded suggests that there is a fundamental difference between a genuine capitalist state and one that has been invaded. The Caribbean is yet to enjoy the benefits of capitalism as derived by real capitalist states such as the United States of America and Great Britain. It is safe to contend that the Caribbean is not a real capitalist space. The Caribbean is an end product of capitalism Mark Figueroa (2007) argued that the enigma of the Caribbean lies in the fact that the region has always been associated with capitalism. How then can we describe that space that has always been associated with capitalism? Related to the notion of invaded space is the notion of distorted space. A distorted social space refers to that which is characterised by multiple distortions and contradictions. The idea of distorted space has significant implications for the human beings that inhabit that space. Do we expect that the human beings of a...
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