By Obika Gray
Gray's significant thesis asserts that the Jamaican nation is a kind of predatory country that comes with contradictory social forces into an association that's hierarchical, frequently brutal and eventually debilitating to democracy. He introduces a chain of constructs to help this argument, however the extra fascinating and novel theses are to be present in his bright description of the social forces that withstand the predatory country and the way they've got carved out a modicum of autonomy in accordance with what he describes as an difficult worth approach of "badness/honour."
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Extra info for Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power of the Urban Poor in Jamaica
But the urban poor are also involved in a process of cultural self-construction. The seven contingents identified above have been decisive in the cultural self-formation of the alienated and socially mobilized urban poor. These contingents have been not only a defiant vanguard, often opposed to the authority of the parasitic state, but also pacesetters in establishing the political and moral foundations for an oppositional political culture. These militant tributaries helped fashion rival structures of power; developed models of community rallying based on natal community loyalty; carried out seizures of strategic social spaces; and established the dramaturgic and aesthetic bases of a dissident cultural consciousness.
15 The battle also intensified the tendency that would become more pernicious with time: the resort to political violence to break up rival party meetings, and the onset of party-sanctioned efforts to hamper and frustrate rival party meetings in some constituencies in Kingston. Although the PNP–TUC could not at this time be effectively barred from competing for votes, nor could its ties to labour be destroyed in Kingston, the JLP–BITU resort to force throughout the city had introduced an unprecedented violent outlawry into national and urban party politics.
In the 1940s and 1950s, this accommodation saw the parties’ concession to pressing demands from below for the distribution of patronage. In other instances, this adaptation by established power implied an ambiguous accommodation to growing social assertiveness in the slums. 28 Finally, even as the state promoted predatory violence among the most non-conformist elements of the Kingston poor, state power could not always contain expressions of popular violence. 29 This nexus between the urban poor and the state highlights the complex, unequal, yet mutually dependent relationship between the downtrodden and their political representatives.
Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power of the Urban Poor in Jamaica by Obika Gray