Critical Analysis

Roxanne E. Burton, (2007). Globalisation and Cultural Identity in Caribbean Society: The Jamaican Case, Cave Hill Barbados: University of the West Indies; pp. 13-14 

I have chosen to analyse the section, titled: ‘Responding to the Challenges’, as I feel it demonstrated the clear fundamentals of my blog outlining the difficulties of identity within Jamaica and how we have best used globalisation to redefined and form our very own Jamaican identity and Culture developed from the dominate aspect that define us,, dance, food and fashion. This section pin points how Jamaican Culture and Cultural identity has benefited from the globalisation process in one way.

From the start of the chapter, the author outlines what has moulded Jamaican Culture, Burton places music, food and dance as our primary contributes, she feels this has helped strengthen our feeling of ownership and pride within our indigenous culture. The author goes on to explain that because of our historical ties to globalisation our culture is less likely to weaken significantly but more likely to actually grow through the aim of culture imperialism. She then elaborates in detail that Jamaican Culture as it is today has developed due to subjugated historical situations and as a result of the complexities that have created a more fluid negotiation of any cultural product that encounters ours.

The author then goes on to build on the theory of cultural products and consumerism, and that Jamaicans now have more access to these products through the powerful media of cable tv, movies and internet, she relates the mainstream interaction with the local stream of creative arts as cultural products, as the impact of these arts at local level are treated some what unfairly due to the lack of profitability and saleability. The author goes on the explain that by treating the international exposure as central profit of our culture on a global scale it has had a positive effect as this not only strengthened  Jamaica’s economical growth but also our identity that is ingrained in the culture that travels around the world with more mainstream exposure for Jamaican entertainers and recording artists. As they are often signed to large overseas Agency’s, labels and stakeholder firms. Burton links the grounded-nous of identity within Jamaican culture to the consumption of products on the island currently being displayed for example there has been a influx of cheap, poorly made fashion to the stores and markets of the Jamaican street; which means people are buying more an thinking less about the individuality or identity of the garments they are now styling on there bodies.(please read fashion and the fleshy body) The author notes a key example of Jamaican consumerism, that Jamaican people spend a great amount of money on grooming and clothing, this links directing into my research of the Dancehall fashions and the idea of wanting to out do each other and impress. Burton goes on to cite Foucault,’who argued that oppressed people have the urge to ‘fix themselves’. The Author goes on to the explain that this is the origin of where Jamaicans culture has developed, ‘the need and desire to fix what is culturally not ours’ and command a type of pride and value of our multi-faceted culture and cultural identity.

The next section of the text, details the knock on effects of globalisation; where the impact of having to many races collide can cause conflict. The author stated that, ‘cultural identities do not change dramatically change even in situations where there is great upheaval such as the uprooting of persons on order to enslave them’. which would suggest to me that the identity evolves and develops as I have discussed throughout my blog. However the author expresses that the cultural identity of a typical Jamaican allows her/him to try out new experiences and switch between different types of behaviour while still maintaining one cultural identity. The author goes onto explain that she feels the problem Jamaican’s face is not because of globalisation but because of the result of a lack of reconciliation on historical experiences and the content that exist between Jamaican becoming more Eurocentric or more Afrocentric in order to level and restructure there social standing.

The last section is a lamentation of the challenges ahead and the real underlying issue of the post colonial struggle and anti-black racism as a issue that triggered the 1970’s riots in Jamaica’s Trench Town. The author explains that the challenge requires confrontation to the period of globalisation, and this will not be a challenged answered easily.


As mentioned throughout my blog in both the reflective blog and annotated bibliography the issue of  identity in Jamaica is a on going battle, however the author has argued with outstanding quality, the importance of strengthening local ownership in the Caribbean and Jamaica is key to sustaining locally based economic development. The text supports my notion of structure and operation of our cultural identity which represents the strength of the Jamaican people and which have created nation heroes. These heroes have been born because of our ongoing development to create something that is our ‘own’. This notion of celebrating the creation of icons should be taken seriously and used as tool of our on go going growth not just for cultural strengthening but our political and economical development which in turn will feed right back into our identity.


The above is a image of my thought process when analysing  and picking out the key areas of this text.


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