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Singing Security: Representations of State and Non-State Protection in Jamaican Popular Music

Jaffe, Rivke (2017) Singing Security: Representations of State and Non-State Protection in Jamaican Popular Music. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

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This working paper explores representations of security and policing in popular Jamaican music, offering an initial survey of themes and a preliminary analysis of this music as a creative negotiation of insecurity emerging from some of the Caribbean’s most precarious urban spaces. In the
context of consistently high levels of violent crime, Jamaica has seen a pluralization of security professionals, with private security companies, neighborhood watches and informal “dons” complementing or supplanting state security forces. Drawing on an analysis of reggae and dancehall songs, this paper examines how these different policing agents are represented in reggae and dancehall lyrics, and specifically how their relationship to the urban poor is narrated. I build on previous analyses of urban violence and real or metaphorical gunplay in Jamaican popular music (e.g. Hope 2006; Cooper 2007) by emphasizing representations of security provision and protection rather than of aggression or “badmanism” per se, although these emphases are of course not mutually exclusive.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Number of Pages:4
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Cooper, Carolyn (2007) "I Shot the Sheriff”: Gun Talk in Jamaican Popular Music. In: Charles Fruehling Springwood (ed.), Open Fire: Understanding Global Gun Cultures, pp.
153-164. New York: Berg.

Hope, Donna (2006) Dons and shottas: Performing violent masculinity in dancehall culture. Social and Economic Studies 55(1/2): 115-131.

Jaffe, Rivke (2012) Criminal Dons and Extralegal Security Privatization in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33(2): 184-197.

Noxolo, Patricia and David Featherstone (2014) Commentary: Coproducing Caribbean Geographies of In/security. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 39(4): 603-607.

Additional Information:

Website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/ research/activity/cariscc/index.aspx
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Blog: https://cariscc.wordpress.com/

Date:24 January 2017
Series/Collection Name:Caribbean In/Securities: Creativity and Negotiation in the Caribbean (CARISCC) Working Papers Series
Keywords:Caribbean Studies, Caribbean in/securities, Caribbean Creativity, Caribbean History, Dancehall, Jamaica, Reggae
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Related URLs:
Funders:The Leverhulme Trust
Copyright Status:This working paper is copyright of the University and the author. In addition, parts of the paper may feature content whose copyright is owned by a third party, but which has been used either by permission or under the Fair Dealing provisions. The intellectual property rights in respect of this work are as defined by the terms of any licence that is attached to the paper. Where no licence is associated with the work, any subsequent use is subject to the terms of The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (or as modified by any successor legislation). Any reproduction of the whole or part of this paper must be in accordance with the licence or the Act (whichever is applicable) and must be properly acknowledged. For non-commercial research and for private study purposes, copies of the paper may be made/distributed and quotations used with due attribution. Commercial distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holders.
Copyright Holders:Dr Rivke Jaffe, University of Birmingham
ID Code:2947

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