Betwixt and Between: Explorations in an African-Caribbean Mindscape

In this thought provoking collection of essays, anthropologist Barry Chevannes carefully exposes the underlying ideas and values that have given and are giving shape to social life in Jamaica and the Caribbean Region in general. In so doing, he goes beyond a mere examination of social structure, best exemplified by the works of earlier anthropologists like M.G. Smith, to present a comprehensive examination of the nature of Jamaican society. Chevannes advances our understanding of the complex issues of African-Caribbean identity and culture that have plagued intellectuals and scholars form Melville Herskovits right through to contemporary writers like Maureen Warner-Lewis and artists like Kamau Brathwaite. The approach focuses on the worldview, which, he argues, gives shape to a culture by informing the people's patterns of behaviours, their social values and sensibilities. The place of Africa has been an important component of that worldview, influencing modes of survival, reconstruction and change, and central to an understanding of identity, sexuality, religion, morality and politics in Jamaican and Caribbean society.