CARIBBEAN STUDIES

CARIBBEAN IDENTITY

CARIBBEAN IDENTITY 
 



1. WHAT IS IDENTITY? 2. FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT FORM IDENTITY 3. ³A SINGLE CARIBBEAN IDENTITY? 4. THE CARIBBEAN DIASPORA AND DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS

1.WHAT IS IDENTITY? 

IT IS DIFFICULT TO DEFINE IDENTITY SINCE IT IS COMPRISED OF A NUMBER OF THINGS E.G. HISTORY, RELIGION, ETHNICITY IT IS A COMPLEX AND CONTROVERSIAL CONCEPT DEFINITION: THE INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS, STYLE OR MANNER THAT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO A PERSON OR THING AND BY WHICH THAT PERSON IS RECOGNISED.  

WHAT IS IDENTITY? 
   

IDENTITY IS NOT FIXED IDENTITY IS FLUID IT IS INFLUENCED BY PERSONAL CHOICE, AND BY SOCIETY. IDENTITY CONSISTS OF ATTRIBUTES WHICH ARE SHARED e.g. RACE, ETHNICITY, GENDER IT ALSO CONSISTS OF HOW A PERSON SEES THE WORLD

WHAT IS IDENTITY? 

INDIVIDAUL IDENTITY THEREFORE CONSISTS OF TWO DIMENSIONS: 1) A COLLECTIVE DIMENSION WHICH IS AFFECTED BY OTHERS, HISTORY AND SOCIETY; 2) A PERSONAL DIMENSION.

FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT FORM IDENTITY
A)

B) C)

D)

EDUCATION. IDENTITY BASED ON LEVELS OF EDUCATION AND MEMBERSHIP OF PARTICULAR INSTITUTIONS. RELIGION. MEMBERSHIP IN A PARTICULAR BELIEF STRUCTURE RACE. THE RACIAL CHARACTERISTCIS OF INDIVIDUALS. A VERY POWERFUL IDENTYFYING POINT. POLITICS. POLITICAL ALLEGIANCE IS USED BY MANY CARIBBEAN PEOPLE TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES

2. FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT FORM IDENTITY
e) HISTORY. PEOPLE BASE IDENTITY ON SHARED PAST
EXPERIENCES e.g. SLAVERY, INDENTURESHIP, COLONIALISM. PEOPLE UNITE AND ARE IDENTIFIED BY THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE FORCES THAT SHAPE THEIR PAST. GENDER. MANY CARIBBEAN PEOPLE IDENTIFY THEMSELVES BASED ON THEIR SEX/GENDER. SEXUAL ORIENTATION. THIS GROUP INCLUDES HETEROSEXUALS, GAYS, LESBIANS ETC. THIS CATERGORY IS GROWING IN IMPORTANCE.

f)

g)

FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT FORM IDENTITY
h)

i)

GEOGRAPHY. PEOPLE IDENTIFY THEMSELVES BASED ON THE TERRITORY IN WHICH THEY WERE BORN OR RESIDE. EVEN WITHIN INDIVIDUAL TERRITORIES SMALL DIVISIONS OF GEOGRAPHICAL IDENTITY EXISTS BASED ON URBAN OR RURAL LOCATION. LINGUISTICS. THE CARIBBEAN POPULATION CONSISTS OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD. THIS HAS RESULTED IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, PIDGINS AND CREOLES. THESE LANGUAGES UNITE PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR APPRECAITION OF A COMMON LINGUISTIC HERITAGE.

FACTORS AND INSTITUTIONS THAT FORM IDENTITY J. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY. PEOPLE IDENTITY
THEMSELVES IN ASSOCIATIONS OR GROUPINGS BASED ON THE ECONOMIC PURSUITS e.g. TRADE UNIONS.

3. A SINGLE CARIBBEAN IDENTITY?   

IS THERE A SINGLE CARIBBEAN IDENTITY? ³THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SINGLE µCARIBBEAN IDENTITY¶. DO YOU AGREE/DISAGREE? GIVE A REASONS FOR YOUR ANSWER

SINGLE CARIBBEAN IDENTITY   

THE DIFFERENCES THAT EXIST IN THE REGION SHOW NO INCLINATION TOWARDS HOMOGENISING THE REGION¶S PEOPLE. NORMAN GIRVAN HAS INDICATED THAT MANY CULTURAL IDENTITIES CO-EXIST WITHIN A SOCIETY AND WITHIN A REGION. M.G SMITH AND OTHERS RECOGNIZE THAT CARIBBEAN IDENTITY IS MULTI-ROOTED

4. THE CARIBBEAN DIASPORA AND DOUBLE CONSCIUOSNESS  

DIASPORA: DISPERSE; THE ACT OF DISPERSING; THE SPREAD OF PARTICULAR GROUPS OF PEOPLE FROM THEIR LAND OR PLACE OF BIRTH IN TO OTHER REGIONS OUTSIDE OF THIS POINT OF ORIGIN. DIASPORA ALSO REFERS TO THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THIS MOVEMENT OCCURRED. THE MOVEMENT MAY BE FORCED OR VOLUNTARY MOVEMENT FROM THE PLACE OF ORIGIN.

THE CARIBBEAN DIASPORA AND DOUBLE CONSCIUOSNESS   

IN MOST DIASPORIC COMMUNITIES THERE IS A SENSE OF µUNCOMFORTABLENESS¶ IN THE NEW SURROUNDINGS. NEWLY ARRIVED GROUPS USUALLY FEEL LIKE STRANGERS IN THE NEW LAND IN WHICH THEY HAVE SETTLED. THIS MAY LAST FOR A LONG TIME OR BE REPLACED BY ACCEPTANCE OF THE NEW LAND AS HOME. WILLIAM Du Bois CALLS THIS FEELING ³DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS´.

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS  

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS: THE FEELINGS EXPERIENCED BY THE DIASPORIC PERSON OR COMMUNITY WHO IN THE NEW HOMELAND IS TORN BY TWO SETS OF IDENTITIES. ON THE ONE HAND LIFE HAS BEGUN ANEW IN THE NEW PLACE THAT NOW REPRESENTS HOME. ON THE OTHER HAND HOME IS THE ORIGINAL HOMELAND. THERE IS A YEARNING TO RETURN TO THE HOMELAND. THERE IS A PULL BACK TO µMOTHER¶ INDIA, AFRICA, EUROPE, CHINA ETC.

DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS   

EXILE OVERSEAS PRODUCES DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS. DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS CREATES A SENSE OF DUAL IDENTITY. DIASPORIC COMMUNITIES MUST CHOOSE TO ACCEPT THEIR EXILE AND MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR CURRENT SITUATION OR MAKE EFFORTS TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMELAND.

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