Topics: Sociology, Culture, Caribbean Pages: 26 (8042 words) Published: October 21, 2013

Unit 2: Caribbean Identity

In this unit we explore the subject of a Caribbean identity. There are those who think that the Caribbean is too diverse a region for there to be a single Caribbean culture. Proponents of the view that there is a Caribbean culture based their arguments on our shared historical past as well as the number of social institutions that we share as a region. Both sides of the discussion will be explored.

The socially constructed concepts of race, ethnicity and colour, which strongly influence culture and identity, will also be explored in the quest to highlight the issues surrounding the topic. In addition,

The contemporary Caribbean is part of a global world. Globalization has impacted the Caribbean in many different ways. The impact of globalization on culture is done through the process of trans-culturation. This happens as a result of the cultural interaction of various groups. This, along with our constant battle for space (Nettleford) has resulted in many social problems that affect our quest for a Caribbean identity.

Session 1:Race, Class and Identity in the construction of a Caribbean identity Session 2:Problems and Challenges of Caribbean Identity in the contemporary period Session 3:Education and Sustainable Development in Caribbean Cultural Identity Conclusion

Learning Objectives
After completing this unit you will be able to:
1. Define and explain the concepts of race, colour and identity using a Caribbean perspective 2. Outline the relationship between race and identity
3. Discuss the difficulties involved in the quest for a Caribbean identity 4. Discuss the issues affecting the formation of a Caribbean identity in the contemporary period 5. Identify post-modern trends, changes and their effects on a Caribbean identity

Session 2.1: Race, Class and Identity

The concepts of race and identity are socially constructed. The meaning of both terms varies depending on your geographical, spatial, ethnic, racial and social background and sensibilities. The social structures of the Caribbean consist of many different races and cultures, a factor affects the formation of a Caribbean identity. In the people of the Caribbean, slavery, marronage, indentureship and colonialism combine to produce a mix of Diasporic people. This is at the heart of the problem of identity in the Caribbean.

Identity will always be a changing social factor in the Caribbean. The people of the region construct daily realities that result from various historical, intellectual, ethnic, racial and cultural sensibilities. These sensibilities inhere within the individual, motivating the identity construction process. These social forces, sometimes with contending worldviews, conflict rather than conflate in the identity construction process. In the final analysis they create a culturally eclectic mixture of people for which the Caribbean is widely known. Caribbean identity can be constructed using many common symbols and signs expressed through language, the performing and visual arts, Creolization, traditions, religion, aesthetics, food, festivals and West Indies cricket.

At the end of this session you should be able to:
1. Define race, class and colour.
2. Define identity
3. Distinguish between race, class and colour
4. Describe the factors that affect the definition of race and identity in the Caribbean 5. Describe the relationship between race and identity
6. Discuss the factors affecting identity formation in the contemporary Caribbean

Race and Identity
Historical development and identity formation in the Caribbean The concept of Caribbean identity is rooted in the history of the Caribbean; it is this history that provides the basis for the formation of an identity through the shared experiences of the people of the region. Mintz and Price (1985) state that, “the personal experiences of early migrants to...
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